Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I can do anything!

Several years ago, I was at my friend Sarah's rugby game and I saw a kid, probably about 6 years old, wearing a cape and running, and climbing a fence.  I thought, "If I had a cape, I could run too.  And climb, and do just about anything."  Alas, I was in my 30s, with no cape, and had doctor's orders
not to run or do other high impact exercises.  I continued to sit in my chair and watch other people run and climb and tackle and Do Things.

Two years ago, I was having trouble with both my lower back and my rotator cuff.  My left arm's range of motion was reduced, and I would wake up crying from the pain of rolling over in my sleep.  My back constantly hurt whether I was moving or not.  All my flexibility was gone.  I went to doctors (and chiropractors and massage therapists and acupuncturists and physical therapists), I eventually got a diagnosis for my back, and felt a little better that it had a name, if not a cure.

For my shoulder, they put me in the MRI machine, but the best they could come up with was that something was inflamed.  They didn't know if it was the tendon, the bursa, or something else.  When they told me the non-diagnosis, I felt this moment of complete despair - "How will I become an Olympic gymnast if I can't do the 'stuck landing' pose?"  After a couple of seconds considering this tragic loss of potential Olympic glory, I remembered I was 38, not in great shape, and I quit gymnastics in 6th grade because I was afraid of all the moves that involved being off the ground.  I was not likely to need a "stuck landing" pose. Ever.

This year I turned 40.  As everyone who put up with me for the previous several months can attest, the idea of turning 40, of being in my 40s was causing me a great deal of stress.  I thought it meant that it was too late to change anything.  I don't know what I expected 20 years ago - I don't think the concept of turning 40 ever occurred to me then, to be honest - but I knew that I wasn't living my fairy tale life... partly because I don't even know what that is.  And even if I figured it out, I already felt it was too late to change.

As I was moping in the weeks leading up to my birthday, I remembered that boy with the cape and told a few friends about it.  Things just seemed so possible for him, and not for me.

Well.  I now have a cape.  Sarah heard me and bought a lovely purple cape (with an orange and yellow R for Rebecca) for my birthday.  When I wear it, I feel confident and happy and like I can do anything.  Maybe even fly.  Even when I'm not wearing it, I know that I Have a Cape, and I have all the powers the cape represents.  As soon as I got the cape, I knew being 40 would be ok, and haven't been mopey about it since.

And, as I was reminded, while I may not be able to change my life up until now, it's not too late to change.  I simply have a different starting point.  Now, I just have to figure out where to go... and if I can fly there.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Easter Eggs

It has been pointed out to me that my colors tend to be... saturated.  Bright.  Vibrant.  Obnoxious.

I wanted to try making some pastels.  I succeeded.  Next up in the shop (this weekend, I hope) will be my "Easter egg" skeins.  Not dyed with easter egg dye - dyed with my usual dyes, just less intensely.  Here's a sneak peek of a few of them.

Monday, February 17, 2014


I'm recovering from the intense awesomeness of All Abby, All Weekend.  Sleeping until 11:30 this morning, then getting a 90 minute massage this afternoon helped.

Abby Franquemont was in town this weekend to give classes/workshops for the Weavers Guild of Minnesota.  Thursday she gave a talk on "Handspinning through History."  Friday was "All Spindles, All Day" (working on a low whorl spindle) and Saturday and Sunday I was in a two-day class on "Spinning for Projects," in which we learned a lot about spinning techniques and why one technique might be better for one type of project vs another, in more than the basic woolen vs worsted debate.  (And Saturday night a few of us went out after class with Abby, also fun.)

True to form, the majority of Abby's answers started with "It depends."  The awesome thing was that the vague short answer was followed by what it depended on (on what it depended, I should say), and why.  There were also a fair number of answers that included "Sample," and finally Sunday afternoon we heard "Four pounds."

I'm currently frustrated that I can't remember all the things I learned.  There were many times I thought "Wow" or "Mind blown," but now I don't know what prompted them.  So busy listening and learning I forgot to take notes.  People tell me that once I sit down at the wheel (or stand up with a spindle) it will come back, but what about all the life lessons that were part of it?  Will I get those back?

Despite that frustration, this was a great weekend.

Monday, May 20, 2013

What I did on my spring vacation

I didn't do nearly as much dyeing as I wanted to, and didn't make up any new colorways - I spent the early part of the week, when the weather was nice, mostly skeining up yarn for stripes and other special effects, and then it started raining, which limits the amount of special effect dyeing I can do.  (I don't have as much space indoors as I would like to lay out the long skeins.)

I also discovered I don't have nearly as much sock yarn in stock as I thought.  Instead, I dyed mostly laceweight and DK yarns in some of my favorite colorways:  Oceanic, Warmth, Summer Splash, Deep, and Kermit.

I also used some of the indoor time to catch up on some carding.  There will be some beautiful romney batts in the shop soon - greens, blues, and purples.  They have some lanolin left in them, so for those who like to spin "in the grease" but also like color, these batts are for you!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Being on vacation is exhausting!

I ended up with about 15 lbs of fiber, my most restrained Shepherds Harvest yet.  Now, that came from 7 different sheep, but I bought only one full fleece - I mostly got only 1-2 lbs of the rest.  Several of the fleece were from breeds I haven't worked with before - a Columbia X, Dorset, Suffolk X, and Shetland.  And then there were the tried and true breeds that I get every year, like a BFL x Romney.  Some of this fiber will probably show up as batts in the shop.

And now I'm halfway through my third annual post Shepherds Harvest week of vacation.  I've been skeining yarn like crazy for my first attempts at gradients, long stripes, and other fun techniques I've not tried before... or at least not tried successfully.  In the past, these dyeing binges have resulted in new repeating colorways.  If all goes according to plan, a lot of this week's dyeing will happen tomorrow.  We'll see what happens.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wool fumes

This weekend is Shepherds Harvest.  Every year I say I'm going to get 1-2 fleeces, and I take home 5ish, sometimes more.  This year... I have no idea.  Up until a few days ago, I was saying 1-2, because I have so many remaining from previous years.  Then wool fumes hit, and I started to think 8 was a decent number.  Right now, the wool fumes have calmed down again.  I have no idea what will happen tomorrow.

Then I'm taking next week off from work to have fun with fiber.  I'm busy prepping skeins of yarn for handpainting, and I plan to attempt more striping yarns, though I don't yet have a clear idea of what colors will call to me.

Meanwhile, for those who didn't see Sarah's Facebook post, the new homepage is up, with displays of one-of-a-kind colorways, past and present.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Check out my new colorway gallery!  These are some of the colorways that are repeatable, with not always identical results.

This is the first in what I hope will be a series of new additions to the website.  It's only one piece so far, but since it involved learning several computer languages, as well as building and popuating a database, I hope that the next pieces will happen more quickly.  I also have in mind a product gallery (organized by yarn/fiber instead of colorway), and with the help of friends and customers, a showcase of finished projects using The Spinning Daisy products.  Let me know if you have pictures you'd like to share.

I'm nearly finished with a project I'll be able to showcase there - a cowl neck sweater that I knit from yarn I dyed from fiber I had processed from fleece (and silk) I bought back in 2010... or possibly 2009.  Slowly but surely.  All I have left to do is knit about half of a sleeve, then block it and show it off.  :-)

This time next week, I will be in or very near the Stringtopia Fiber Arts Studio in Ohio for the Spring String Thing!  So many things to do before then, including getting some new items up in the shop.  I've made my first striping yarn, and look forward to doing more.