…while visions of fiber danced in my head.

Gentle readers, it was The Most Amazing And Spectacular SaturdayThe Most Amazing!

At dawn I was awake (after barely sleeping all night) to head out to meet Lisa.  We were off watching the sunrise as we raced over to Howell Michigan.

What, you ask, is in Howell that we had to leave so early?

Two things.

The Divine Miss B and Abby.

Okay, maybe I should say Abby and The Divine Miss B.

Lisa and I signed up for a spinning class – specifically Spinning for Socks.  Holy Cow.  Total brain overload.

I learned things that I never imagined I would ever learn – ever… and some of them were actually from Abby!

So, when there is the clear light of day I will show you pictures of the amazing things I learned today.

Okay, maybe not all of them – but how about the things that Abby taught us!

If you have not had the pleasure of visiting Beth’s Shop – you need to run, not walk, but RUN to see her.  She is fun, a great spinner, and she has more fiber than you can shake a stick at (even a spindle at!!).  If you have visited and you have not availed yourself to some of the classes she has, get yourself signed up!  Seriously.  She has amazing classes.

So – I am now heading off to bed to digest what I learned today and I will be dreaming of the fibers at her shop.

… on Cormo and Shetland, on Masham and Merino, on Dorset and Polwarth…

Sweet Dreams all!

Sweets for the Sweet!

I am a participant in Lynne’s Special Swap. And, we are in the midst of The Sweet Swap Round! I am lucky, Kimberly is my recipient. She is dear to my heart as she was my recipient in one of the Secret Swap rounds. That is how I got to know her and her fabulous family. Our Swap Mamma has us working a little differently this time. We are not receiving our package from the person we are sending to. Kind of fun.

So, Lynne asked us to post the answers to the following questions for our Swap Pals… So, Swap Pal, who ever you may be – here you go.

Kimberly was kind and reminded me that I needed to get this done – she posted hers today! Thanks Kimberly!

Well, without further adieu – here are my answers to Lynne’s questions:

  1. What were your three favorite treats in your Halloween bag?

Chocolate and caramel, Chocolate and peanut butter, Chocolate and coconut – see the theme here?

  1. What were the three treats that you would trade away?

Hmmm, it would depend on what I was getting. Licorice was not a big favorite of mine.

  1. Do you bake?

Ummm, no – really not.

  1. Do you order dessert in a restaurant? If so, what is your favorite dessert?

Look at me, do you think I say no to dessert??? Crème Bruleè mmmmm, my absolute favorite.

  1. Tell me about your favorite Candy-colored yarns, and what candy are they inspired from?

Boy, I love autumnal colors – Candy corn would be the inspiration I suppose. Green candy – hmmm, not sure what green candy I can think of but I remember being in high school and getting those hard candy sticks – there was a green apple flavor that was the most divine color!

  1. When you knit a special “icing on the cake” accessry for your outfit, would you knit …… socks, a scarf, a hat or a bag?

I love scarfs and shawls. LOVE them. In my opinion they are a “must have” for the knitters wardrobe!

  1. Describe the perfect ice cream sundae.

It all starts with coffee ice cream, Matt Lauer, and one spoon… need I say more?

  1. Are there any knitting treats that you would love to add to your collection?

Hmmm, of course there are! Who does not like to get treats! A book you would like for your library? I would love to get some stitch dictionaries. A knitting gadget for your notions bag? A row counter that could hang on a cord around my neck would be fabulous. A sweet yarn? Hmmm, there are so many sweet yarns! Maybe a skein of something I can knit into a cute summery scarf!

  1. Think about the best homemade dessert from Mom or Grandma. Do you have the recipe to share?

Boy, my mother was so not a baker. But, I do remember baking with my nana. Her Banana Bread was so moist and delicious. I will gladly share the recipe with you here!

Nana’s Banana Bread:

1 C Sugar

½ C shortening (she used real butter)

1 t baking soda in

¼ C sour milk (you can make sour milk with by adding a bit of vinegar to milk)

2 well beaten eggs

3 mashed bananas

2 C flour

½ C chopped nuts (she used walnuts most often)

Combine ingredients. I do them in the order written, I cream together the sugar and the shortening. I then add the remainder of the ingredients.

Bake 1 hour at 350°F. (She also used greased, floured cans)

  1. What local or regional treats would you insist your swap partner try if she visited your town?

Hmmm, it would have to be Pallazollo’s for Gelato. Oh. My. Heaven’s. Trust me – you will hear angels singing when you taste this stuff!

  1. Cupcakes….talk amongst yourselves.

Sure, I like chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!

F is for…

Friday!  Specifically, my final Friday of unemployment!

As of Monday we will no longer be the “Home of the Gainfully Unemployed”.

Huge sigh of relief here, I can most certainly tell you!

It is also the final Friday of March – and here in West Michigan Frosty Winter is not giving up easily.  We had another inch of snow last night.  I am wishing for the Finish of Winter.  Even more I am yearning for the arrival of spring.  We have had fleeting moments with her, just enough to give us all a dose of Spring Fever!

F is also for felines – specifically felines who are foto-shy.  Excuse my  spelling, but I am in need of “f” words for the ABC Along!  I tried all week to get pictures of Maddie and Noel – and all I can say is that my cats are not like Crazy Aunt Purl’s cats at all.  I show you my best attempt!

Just seconds prior to this, she was laying next to Copper – it was a cute moment.  And, as for Noel, she sees the camera and disappears!

F is also for Flowers – Spring Flowers!  Here is one of the Tulips that the kids got me for Easter!

They are just gorgeous and a nice reminder of what is soon to come here in Holland – millions of tulips!  A truly lovely sight!

F is also for the Fibery Friend!  Sandy and Budd brought her to me as a thank you for taking care of Katie for them.  Don’t you just love her???  Oh, and the black and white photo behind her?  Yes, it is me (on the left) and my sister.  We were stylin’ babes, weren’t we???   Pixie hair cuts, sun glasses and jeans with big red patches on the knees.  Yowza, hot mammas, for sure!!

And finally – F is for this….

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I introduce you all to Frederic Chopin – my new wheel.  As you can see it is the Kromski Sonata.  I sold Alice to a well deserving friend and welcomed to my home Freddie!  I am truly a Kromski girl.  I truly love the craftsmanship of their wheels.  And, for me, they spin like a dream!  Plus, I now have a bag to pack my wheel in for those times I need to travel to classes or spinning evenings with friends.  See what I have been working on… some gorgeous silk in summerly colors.  I know, I know – I need to remember to move my fiber around.  The problem is when Freddie gets going I am mesmerized by his song!

So there is my F entry for the Final Friday in March – have a great weekend all!

How can it be Thursday already???

Panic is surely setting in here as the days of unemployment draw to a close.

How the heck can it be Thursday already????

I wonder if I find a horn and march around outside blowing it loudly that I can stop time for a bit!  Well, it worked for Joshua in Jericho – a girl can only hope, right??

I can hear you all muttering – insanity has surely set in!

Okay, maybe it has!

My good intentions for the week have gone by the wayside.  I have some cleaning done, but not what I want to have done.  I have some knitting done, but not what I wanted to have done.

I got sidetracked on Tuesday – major derailment people!

You see, it started out as a Good Samaritan Journey.  And, with those good intentions I headed off to A2 to get Sandy’s dear husband Budd.  Jail Break from The Joint, I was so into this plan!

The problem is what is between here and there…

There is of course Mecca and how can one but stop in Mecca – especially when you are on a Good Samaritan Journey?!? Plus, I had a gift certificate burning a hole in my hot little hand.

Okay, that was one the first detour in my Good Samaritan Journey.

Stop number 2 was a bit more dangerous.  It all started when I called The Divine Miss B and she answered the phone.  Darn her!  Bigger problem, she calls me back asking me for help in the purchase of a vacuum for her shop.  Oy.  Then she called again to let me know she and her darling daughter were heading right over to the shop to wait for me.  Double Oy!  She must have heard her cash register singing for joy.  So, on to Howell I proceeded.

Well, it is right on the way to Ann Arbor – I swear it is!!

Yeah, so I leave with much in tow.  New traveling wheel, new drop spindle, one of those adorable acorn spindles, a book…

All this on the Good Samaritan Journey – and then I arrive, finally, at long last, to spring Budd from the Joint.  (FYI, looks like they are having a special on Colon Cancer Screenings right now, just in case you are interested – just saying!)

With Budd, new wheel, and a wee bit of yarn in the vehicle we made a run for the border of Lake Michigan.

So, my questions remains – how the heck can it be Thursday already!?!

I am off, gentle readers, to find a horn to blow!  Photo’s of my mayhem to follow… stay tuned!

Manic Monday

Hello Everyone.  There is great excitement here at The Home For The Unemployed!  This is the last Monday of unemployment!

Can you hardly stand it?!?

That’s right, next week Monday I will be sitting in orientation at my new job!

So, this week I will be a woman on a mission.

There is laundry to do.

There is cleaning to do.  (Okay, maybe my version of cleaning is different than yours, but I will endeavor to get a bit done anyways!)

There is knitting to do.

And more knitting to do.

And maybe even a bit more knitting to do.

Holy cow that is a lot of knitting.

My poor knitting needles are going to have a shock to their system next week.  They are going to be languishing around with unfinished projects hanging off them.  They are going to find themselves sad, lonely, and wondering where I went!  So, this week I am going to work like a fiend to try and finish up a few projects.

Just to update you on where my knitting projects stand – I am to the crown decreases on Gretel.  Hopefully this will be off my needles today!  I am still plugging away at the Hemlock Ring blanket, I have 2 and a half skeins of yarn left.  I have lots more rounds to do.  I am not sure that I have enough yarn to finish.  Yeah, just ducky, huh?  Not sure how that saga will end – but I will keep you posted!  Then there are my Super Secret May Day Swap socks – I am heading down to the library today to enlarge the pattern.  I am hoping that will help.  I am having a hard time getting in the flow of this pattern.  I love the yarn, I mean, what is not to love about STR?  This stuff is divine.  Heavenly.  I just need to get my brain wrapped around all the little twists and turns of the chart and do some memorization.  Problem is, there is lots to memorize – and it is minuscule.   Not saying I need reading glasses or anything – really, I have tried and they give me a headache!  But, there are many figures to memorize – many!  Lots of going back and forth between the chart and the key.  Slow knitting people.  Slow!  Anyways, I am hoping that enlarging will help enormously!  There are a few other projects, but they are not in the “get done or else” category.

So, I am off to clean up a bit and get to knitting.

Have a good one all!

In which there is some knitting content!

Hello everyone!  I am hoping that your Easter, be it white and covered in snow or bursting forth with spring flowers, has filled your day with joy!  In our house the day began with Son-rise worship followed by Easter Breakfast prepared by the youth group.  And, while this is not a gourmet breakfast by any stretch of the imagination, the predictability of this meal accompanied with the fellowship of good friends made the morning!

Now that lunch is over my plan for the remainder of the day is to sit and knit and knit some more!

I have been working on my Super Secret May Day Swap Socks!  I am not much farther than the last time I reported in to you, but it is not for lack of trying.  I had to frog back a bit when I discovered a large mistake.  And, trust me, I tried valiantly to avoid a trip to the frog pond.  No such luck for this lowly knitter!  So, I am now back on track and hopefully I will be Twisting along the Tulip Lane and have sock #1 completed soon!

I also have been working a bit on the never ending rounds of the Hemlock Ring blanket.  I am to the point where I am concerned that I will have enough yarn to finish.  So, either I knit faster (that is the knitter cure, right?) or find another skein of yarn…

I have been spinning and plying a bit.  I will try and get pictures posted tomorrow.  I spun up and plied the Wool-Bamboo that I got at the Dyeing Workshop from Rita.  Lovely stuff, let me tell you.

I should also be working on finishing Gretel – but May Day Sockmania has over taken much of my knitting time.

My son had his girlfriend over last night and she was enthralled watching me spin.  They sat in the living room and she was asking me a million and one questions (much to my son’s chagrin!) and I asked her if she knit – nope.  But, I will be exceedingly happy to teach her.  She is a darling young lady.  And, enabler that I am, a new knitter and spinner is a good thing!  Especially since my children have no interest in taking up needles and knitting.  However much they like hand knits for themselves, they are content with me knitting them!

Alright, I am off to pour myself a glass of wine and spend the evening knitting.

Blessed Easter everyone!

I’m Dreaming of a White Easter…

Excuse me, but I believe that yesterday was the Vernal Equinox – Spring – end of winter – etc.

Well, someone forgot to tell Old Man Winter that because he blew in this afternoon and deposited 12 inches of snow and it is still coming down!  The wind is howling and yowling outside.  Heaven only knows what the poor Robin I saw this morning is doing right now.

Heck, I should be knitting a nest cozy for that Robin!

You would never know that yesterday was so sunny and gorgeous out.  Sandy and I headed down to visit Marr Haven and the lovely owner.  What a lovely farm – Barb is an amazing artist.  Her dyeing is beautiful and her sheep are too cute!  Her workshop is filled with wonderful things to spark your creative genius!

Hope you have all your Easter Eggs dyed.  And, your Easter baskets ready for the Easter Bunny to fill… I think that Santa may have to hitch up his reindeer to help out the Bunny with his deliveries!!

Stay warm if Old Man Winter is still in your neighborhood!

Random Hilarity

Hello everyone!  Hope your week is rolling along smoothly.

Yesterday I  accompanied Sandy to Ann Arbor – her husband is not feeling great and he was admitted to the hospital for some tests.  Check in was something else.  There was this hysterical, and I mean hysterical, woman working in admitting.  Her name was Mary Beth… she was a woman who would put most stand up comedians to shame.  We were all laughing and having a fabulous time with her wit.  I asked her at one point if she was a knitter.  Her reply caused us all to burst into laughter!  “Knit?” she says to me, “I can’t do that at all.  I cannot get things off the needles,” she quips with a straight face, “I just have to keep buying more needles.”  Oy – what a woman.

This week was also Spinning night at FOW – and it was busy!  One of the lovely ladies that I have met there has just started a new blog.  Her name is Jenna and you need to stop over to Jenna’s blog and tell her I asked you to do so.  She is a new spinner as well and she spins beautifully!  One creative and crafty lady!

March Madness has commenced so it is all basketball, all the time for the next few weeks.  Can you hardly stand it???

This morning I had an interesting conversation with The Divine Miss Beth!  I thought I would get the shop voice mail and leave her a message with some questions about a lesson or two with her to help me hone my spinning skills a bit.  But, imagine my shock when she answers the phone and announces to me that she is naked!  I warned her that I was a blogger and she was giving me free fodder for publication…

Anyways, stop over and give Beth a holler and tell her to put some pants on!   Or at least put some on before Abby gets there next weekend!!!  Anyways, I let her know that I was going to work on trading up my Ashford and I was going to be in the market for a traveling wheel.  And, if anyone knows spinning wheels it is Beth!  She filled my brain with some things to think about.  If any of you are interested in an Ashford Traveler with 4 extra bobbins get a hold of me and we can talk price and shipping arrangements.  I will be putting something on Ravelry as well.

Have a great evening everyone.

Spinning fun!

Hello everyone!

Last night Sandy and I went to spin with the Woodland Spinners.  It was great fun!  What an upbeat group of talented spinners!  I even met someone who is a new spinner like me!  She started spinning in August when she took a class at Allegan Fiber Festival!  We laughed about celebrating our one year “spiniversay” together!  There was also some great discussion from the group on participating in the “Sheep to Shawl” contest that they have at Allegan!  Lots of new thoughts swirling around in my head!

And, tonight the Holland Spinners are meeting!  This will be fun as well – I took the Dyeing class with Lisa and Jenna and I am looking forward to seeing their fibers!!   I started spinning my Merino/Bamboo roving last night.  Yum!  I like!!  I saw something interesting on Abby’s blog and I am doing that with my roving.  We’ll see how it turns out!

One last tidbit to leave you with.  In our Thursday night knitting group we have a lovely lady who has 9 children.  Yes, you read that correctly – nine!  Well, last night I met another lovely lady who has her beat and beat by a mile.  She has 13 children ranging in ages from 31 years old to 8 years old.  I almost fell out of my spinning chair and, if I still had my uterus, it would have been crying!!  Thirteen kids – oh. my. gosh.  And, get this gentle reader, they do this with a bath and a half.  She was loads of fun, which you would have to be with 13 kids – don’t you think?  And, what is the break down – boys to girls, you ask?  Seven boys and six girls.  Here is what I am thankful for – I am not doing their laundry!!

Have an awesome Tuesday all!

Lovely Rita

Color Queen!  (Okay, so I took a little license with the Beatles song… )

I had a whirlwind weekend – literally.  I drove to Glen Arbor to get Sam on Friday – 6 hours round trip.  However, I stopped a couple of places along the way.  Just a little fiber distraction!

Saturday dawned bright and early – I had a Dyeing Class at City Knitting with Lovely Rita, The Color Queen.  Wow.  What I learned was truly amazing.  Rita is an excellent teacher and my classmates were amazingly creative.  Do you find that when you are surrounded with creative people, you are more creative?  Well, that certainly was the case on Saturday.

Rita’s wealth of knowledge in Dyeing is amazing – and I have a feeling we just scratched the surface of her wisdom on Saturday.

These are the beauties that I created on Saturday.  They are still a bit damp, but the colors are just glorious!

I started with some lovely Alpaca with a Twist Fino – and ended up with 875 yds of this luscious creation.

This is some Henry’s Attic Licorice Twist – a merino with a strand of super wash.  I am not certain how much yardage there is, but trust me, it is lots!  See how the super wash grabbed more of the color… cool, huh?

Now this is 2 hanks of Peruvian Tweed Superfine Alpaca – 1200 yds of it!  Intense, vibrant colors!

And, finally I dyed 4 oz. of Merino/Bamboo roving.  See the kind of white sliver running through?  That is the bamboo.

I was so happy with my creations!  I am itching to try some more overdyeing here at home soon!

Then Sunday I ended up having to drive Sam back to school – another 6 hour round trip.  Oh, boy – it feels like I lived in the car this weekend.

On the job front – I have found out my schedule at the hospital and I am going to have to drop the local spinning and knitting nights…. I will have to work on Tuesday and Thursday’s and I won’t get back into Holland until after 7:30PM.  That is kind of sad, but I am so thankful for a job that I am not complaining.  I also will have to give up choir – as I won’t get there in time either.  Small sacrifices in the scheme of things.

On a brighter note, there is a group starting on Monday nights – which will work for me.  New beginnings all around!

I need to get moving here, have a great Monday all!