Hand Spun

Hand Spun
Campfire Hat

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Long Time Away

I haven't blogged for ages! It's been so long I had a hard time remembering how to sign on to blogspot!
The Little Wren's Nest has been busy! We have 8 dogs (two Bigs and 6 Littles), still have the parrots and the canary, and I'm still spinning, knitting, crocheting, and weaving. I have even messed around with Sculpy and other polymer clays. My efforts on that front have been in vain. I will never be a traditional artist. I can't draw, my painting is embarrassing, and now I know I can't sculpt either. It's OK though. It's good to know your talents and your limits. Otherwise I'd probably be good at nothing but try everything.
I'm headed back to school next month to finish my BA and move on to my master's degree. Between working full time, going to school part time, and running a home, I'm not sure what the overall impact will be on my spinning and knitting.
I have a studio in the midst of construction. I will eventually be able to work from home - I think. So lots of things are changing and there is a lot of potential waiting to be tapped into.
I've collected a couple of new wheels. I have my Rose and the Kromski still but I've also acquired a Columbine wheel (yellow) named Princess Buttercup and a newer Ashford Traditional wheel I named Ophelia and will likely take to work.
I started teaching knitting and crochet for free at work during lunches and breaks. I've had a few good students and a few who started and then gave up.
January will find me giving free drop spindle lessons to a few very interested parties at work. I've been knitting A LOT of hats and shawls and found myself falling far behind on my spinning. So I'm going to focus on that. I have a 30lb bump of rambouillet wool waiting to be dyed and spun up into lovely yarn. I've done a few blending experiments on my drum carder with wool roving and angora. My most recent yarn has been a blend of wool, angora, and alpaca. It's light, soft,  and blue and white. Here's an angora/wool blend I dyed and knitted up into a slouch hat. These are so much fun to knit and wear!
And now I'm sort of up to date. I plan on posting more about everything going on but mostly the artsy craftsy fiber side of life. Be back soon!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Crocheted Rug Pattern

I've been doing a lot of work on crocheting rugs lately. Here is my latest pattern for those interested. I'm using old sheets, flat and fitted, stripping them, joining the strips, and rolling them into a fabric ball before beginning the rug.
 I use a GINORMOUS crochet hook. It's roughly the size of a dry erase marker. I think it's a Q or something close to that.

Rug Pattern:

R1: Ch 5. Using a slip stitch join chain to form a circle. Place stitch marker in last stitch to mark end of round and move marker with each row so you keep track of the end of the round.

R2: 2 sc in each ch st around. (10 stitches) Place marker in last stitch.
R3: *1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st* repeat around.
R3: *1 sc in each of next two st, 2 sc in next st*, repeat around
R4: *1 sc in each of next three st, 2 sc in next st*, repeat around
R5: *1 sc in each of next four st, 2 sc in next st*, repeat around
R6: *1 sc in each of next five st, 2 sc in next st* repeat around
R7: *1 sc in each of next six st, 2 sc in next st*, repeat around

~ During this row you may find your rug is curling up into a bowl shape. If you want to continue to form a bowl, keep following the pattern using the next logical stitch combination. To make a rug, follow below:

~Remove stitch marker from rug. At this point, repeat R7 until the rug begins to flatten. Once you notice your edges flattening out, start the next row at any point.

Row X: *1sc in each of next seven st, 2 sc in next st*, repeat until edges seem to be loose but not wavy. At any point begin next row.

Row Y: *1sc in each of next eight st, 2 sc in next st*, repeat until you notice edges becoming too loose. At any point begin next row.

Row Z: *1 sc in each of next nine st, 2 sc in next st*, repeat until you are comfortable moving to next row or you run out of fabric.

If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me. This pattern is pretty flexible so if you're comfortable, you can modify it to suit your own preferences for your rug's design and shape.
Enjoy!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Is it over yet???

I just can't wait for 2012 to be over. Today my 3 outside dogs got out of my yard... allegedly. Neighbors I don't even know called the cops who showed up and issued me 3 financial citations (one for each dog) and threatened me with jail time if they get another report on my dogs. The dogs, in their defense, didn't damage property or hurt livestock, they were just allegedly seen outside my yard. So in order to keep out of further entanglements with the cops (who could burn in hell for all I really care) and to keep from incurring more debt I cannot afford to pay, I have to take my dogs to the animal shelter first thing tomorrow morning. They are never going to understand what happened and will be confused, scared, lonely and very sad. And I have no way to explain to them what happened and why they have to go away.
Honestly this is almost the last straw for me. 2012 has been a horrible, awful year. I suppose it is only fitting that it should go out this way. I was hoping for a nice, quiet, uneventful winter. So far, I've been out of luck. So tomorrow morning at 10am sharp I will be saying goodbye to three dogs who have shown me nothing but loyalty and love, who have protected me when I was alone, comforted me when I was sad, and made me laugh and feel needed when nothing and no one else on this planet could do that. I have to turn around and walk out of the shelter and go back to work as though nothing has changed and my life isn't slowly falling apart again at the seams, piece by little piece. I sometimes wonder what will actually be left of me when all of this fallout is said and done. When the dust settles and I'm sitting in the middle of that mystery, what will I have around me? People are fickle creatures and nobody likes someone whose life is constantly bombarded with trouble. Animals love unconditionally and deeply. Maybe when all of mine are gone and I have nothing left then I'll know some profound sense of freedom I wouldn't have otherwise known. Either that, or I'll be completely bereft and tired of this mockery of a life I'm living right now.
None of that changes the unspeakable injustice I'm about to inflict on these beloved, sweet dogs tomorrow and I have no idea how I'm going to manage what I have to do or live with it afterward without constant crying episodes. I have hated almost all of 2012 and I'll be glad to see it go. I won't look back on it fondly, I won't reminisce about the good old days of 2012 or the good times I had that were preciously few and far between. I'll put it behind me, shake the dust off my feet and somehow go forward into more unknown and chaos. I'm terrified to even imagine what 2013 has in store for me. Yes, I've lost the ability to be an optimist. I won't apologize for it or even feel bad. I still have "things" in my life that enable me to eat and keep a roof over my head. But what kind of life quality is that when you list your blessings as inanimate items that allow you merely to further experience the crap life gets to throw at you? Maybe 2013 will provide me with a different perspective and this time next year I will know hope and happiness again. Maybe I'll have things to look forward to and enjoy again. But for now, it's drudgery and sheer force of will keeping me on my feet. I know God is not a respecter of persons and has no favorites. But for once, I'd like to feel like He was looking out for JUST ME JUST ONCE and that I could be His first priority. Just once. But it's not going to happen. It doesn't happen like that and nobody lives happily ever after either. These are the hard lessons life instills in us over the rocky roads, right?
Well, tomorrow is going to be hellish and I need my sleep. I'm going to take my cold/flu  and strep throat drugs and try to imagine that I'm someone else for just a few hours until I'm forced to face the harsh light of yet another day on this terra firma.
Here's hoping that everyone else reading this is having a better life than I am right now and that you can count your blessings on both hands and actually feel good about them. This ungrateful wretch who has no business worrying over her paltry 1st world problems is going to bed.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

After A Long Day

Today was a long day at work. And by long, I mean wrong end of a wormhole in the space/time continuum kind of long. Just getting home felt like some kind of triumphant victory.
Walking through the door, I noticed the house was quiet and I felt a little lonely about it. Feeling a little sorry for myself I guess that I didn't have a family at home waiting for me. It was late enough that mostly all I had time for was chores before putting the birds to bed and tucking the puppies and I into bed as well. Imagine my surprise when the night took an unexpected turn.
It began innocently enough with letting the puppies out of their crate and into the yard and opening the parrot cages so they could all stretch their wings, play around and have their way with their play stand toys. My African Grey, Sam, started howling like a wolf. Before long, he had Qwynn, my other African Grey howling as well. Daisy, the Amazon parrot began to sing "You Are My Sunshine" during all this howling and the Quakers started counting from 1-4 and yelling "Yahooo!!!" after saying "four!" All typical vocalizations for my house, but I can't remember the last time we all did it together. So I gave everyone treats and copious amounts of praise for their various performances and things quieted enough so that I could eat, tend to the puppies and put some Christmas gifts in the spare room until wrapping time.
The moment I started cleaning the floors, Sam and Qwynn were howling again. I figured, what the heck? I started howling too. The puppies, Pippa and Baylee got in on the howling bit and then Qwynn and Sam were calling the puppies by name and telling them to "c'mon!" so the birds could throw them pellets and watch the puppies eat them. The Quakers started laughing and by that time I was laughing while sweeping the floor. It was obviously Jack Johnson time when Sam gave up howling for singing. Sam LOVES Jack Johnson. So I finished chores with Daisy and Sam singing "You Are my Sunshine" while Jack Johnson sang "Better Together" (Daisy thinks EVERY song is You Are My Sunshine) and everyone else making happy noises and taking the occasional time out to crack a nut or pellet. This hilarity and play kept up for close to an hour before, chores done, I gave everyone kisses on their beaks, told them night night and turned down the lights. Mr Fish (beta fish) got a clean bowl of water with new rocks, the birds all got clean water in their bowls, and now my house is quiet.
But it's a different kind of quiet than it was when I got home. This kind of quiet seems content and at peace while the remnants of innocent happiness echo a little from time to time when I remember some cute little thing one of these critters I share my life with did tonight. We had actual joy tonight, each in our own way. We enjoyed the company we shared, the songs we sang, the numbers we counted, and the laughs that the Quaker parrots can't help but inspire when they get started laughing themselves. I think even the beta fish is happy in his new bowl with new rocks. The puppies are happy any time the birds share their pellets by throwing them on the floor. It might be a "you had to be there" kind of evening. Just reading back over what I wrote I'm not sure I'm able to explain how the night went and how the joy just surprised me out of nowhere.
A fire is crackling in the wood burning stove now and the flames glow red through the front door of its hot metal belly while I type this. It's the only light in that room. The ceiling fan is working hard to distribute the warmth evenly around the house and there's a soft sighing as its blades sweep at the heat. The birds' night lights are leaking a soft blue hue and some beak grinding is going on while they all settle down for sleep. Two sweet and sleepy puppies have taken up their posts behind me on the comfy chair while I type here and I realize that I have a strange life and I share it with strange creatures sometimes. Even the people I love have their own unique strangeness about them I suppose. But this is my life. And I'm learning to be happy again. Not every night will feel like this one did. But on those other nights, I'll have the warm memory of this one and hopefully others to come to remind me that joy will return and maybe when I least expect it and in an unexpected way.
For tonight, however, I am HOME. Truly not just a place with walls and beams but also a place of love and dreams... and hope. Always hope.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Crazy life

Well, "they" say that life is what happens when you are making other plans and boy is this true! Since December 2011 my life has changed drastically. I'm on a single income now (long story I won't be sharing) and because of that, I had to find homes for all my sheep, all my rabbits, all the chickens,some of my birds and my hedgehog. I have 9 parrots left, 3 outside dogs, two inside chihuahuas for snuggles and companionship, and one cat for rodent control in the garage and surrounding area. Still seems like a lot when I type it out but believe me, compared to the chores, feed bills and cleaning I was facing alone previously, the gang I have now is much easier to handle.
However, on a brighter note, I am still spinning! I entered  yarn into our state fair this year and won several ribbons. My knitting is improving with each project I undertake, although I still have a lot to learn, and I've decided to start a small savings account so that next year I can buy a Hitchhiker wheel from the Merlin Tree in order to have an "at work" wheel. Sounds crazy, right? But I can't tell you what a stress reliever spinning is for me. Hand me some fiber, sit me at a wheel, and anxiety and stress just melt away for the little while I get to just spin.
Tonight I worked on a sweet little bobbin of "Caribbean" with turquoise and coral. Looking forward to seeing what the yarn turns out like.
In the meanwhile, I'll figure out this whole Google+ picture posting mess from my phone and get some new pics out of projects and the fun things going on at The Little Wren's Nest.
 Before I go, this is Pippa, my birthday puppy. She is a chihuahua mix and my little sweet snuggle bug. Being gone all day at work left her lonely and sad. I got her a companion and named her Baylee. Baylee is a chihuahua/doxie mix. I can't get to a picture of her at the moment but will post one when I can. :)
I hope you're all looking forward to Thanksgiving as much as I am! Blessings and peace!
Renee


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

After a prolonged absence, I am back. :) Can't post much now but there will be more to come with pictures. Summer is officially here today. Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Spinners' Study Group

Thursday night I attended my first Spinners' Study group as a Boise Valley Handweavers Guild member. Yay! I looked forward to it all week! Since I began to spin just over a year ago, I've only spun with other spinners twice. Once I spun with Carol Dunn at TOTS last October and then in February I attended the Winter Blues Spin In in Crouch, ID.  Both of those experiences were so good for me as a spinner. I learn something new every time I spin with someone else. However, all my spinning in between and since has been a solo deal. When I looked into the Guild and read their website, at first I didn't think I'd really be a good fit. I'm not a weaver. I crochet, knit, quilt and spin but I just can't see myself picking up another craft right now. Space and expense are the main reasons. Oh yeah... and time. :) But when I read that they have a spinners' study group that meets once a month, I decided to give it a shot and join. I'm so happy I did!

There were a lot of us there. I didn't do a head count but more than 10 of us showed up with wheels and some brought bobbin lace and other projects. Because I was the new kid on the block I did lots of listening but they were all so welcoming and warm that it wasn't long before I felt comfortable enough to take part in some of the conversations going on. Right now the study group isn't actually studying anything in particular we're just meeting to spin and talk. Like a quilting bee with spinning instead of quilting. I got to feel other people's fiber and ask them about it. Peggy, one of the ladies I sat next to showed me how to do a lovely long draw with a long stapled fiber. She was sooooooo good at it!! I decided that by this time next year I will be able to do a lovely even long draw single too. Peggy made it look easy but I know it will take me practice and more practice.
There were two other new spinners there besides myself and they were both spinning on Ashford Traditional wheels. Seeing their wheels made me miss my first wheel a bit. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Rowenna and Suzannah and wouldn't trade them for anything. But my first wheel was a Traddy and to me, just looking at that wheel says "spinning wheel". Plus, their wheels were stained a lovely dark and deep brown which was very attractive. Everyone was spinning something different too. Mitzi was using a Columbine wheel and it was pretty cool to watch. Her bobbins for that thing are enormous! I just had my Concord silk/merino blend wool and kept working on that. Jeff ordered some lovely Polwarth wool for me and I'm very excited to get it and see what it's like to spin. I listened to some of them talk about their fiber stash and I was in awe. I have lots of fiber and my sheep and rabbits are growing more for me every day but I have NOTHING like some of these ladies do. Amazing. I'd better hurry and stash more if I'm to catch up. lol!
It was a wonderful time with some wonderful ladies and I'm already looking forward to next month's meeting. I'll take better and more pictures next time to shows some of the other projects and wool the others are working on. Meanwhile, I feel the need to spin coming on.