Through the Back Loop

Adventures in knitting, fiber arts, and family.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Mine, all Mine!

Well… here it is.
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My very own spinning wheel, complete with a long dramatic, soap-opera like story. My oldest daughter told me that this wheel is perfect for me, and she’s right. Here’s why:

First, it’s from New Zealand. It’s an Ashford Traveller, and because I spent a year in New Zealand, anything from there is top notch in my book.

Next, it needed a bit of TLC. It belonged to a woman who was a spinner and a weaver, but she had been sick for quite awhile, and the wheel was pretty dirty. It looked black when I first brought it home. To be honest, I was a little disappointed when I first saw it because I had pictured the light colored modern style wheel in my mind. This black thing was a pretty far cry from my dream. But after some lemon oil and some elbow grease, the wheel showed off for me. It had some beautiful wood grain, that would never have been as beautiful in a lighter stain shade. The little bit of TLC that I needed to give made me feel like it was my own right away.

Also, I fixed it. Well, I had to break it before I could fix it. I guess the wheel was testing my devotion early on by being committed to breaking. The leather strap that connects the treadle to the arm (yes, it’s that old that it has a leather part– and yes, I’m that dense when it comes to spinning wheel terminology) broke after I brought it home. To make a long story short, I made a new friend in a leather crafter from Neenah, WI and now I have a lifetime amount of leather – at no cost! She sure was a doll! I took the leather, and having absolutely no clue about what I was doing, went about fixing it. Amazingly, it works! You can see my new piece of leather in one of the photos. Go on, check it out! I also decided to replace the jumbo fly wheel with the standard fly wheel, and had to shorten up the drive band, but the was a no-brainer compared to the leather piece I had to cut, punch holes in, and fit into place so that the screws lined up with the holes.

And, look at the fancy detail on the treadle. I’m in love!

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Lastly, this wheel is different, it has a story, and it is a bit old. My daughter pointed out that I appreciate all of these things, and she would never have expected me to, “go with what was currently popular” anyway. She was right.

I guess I’ll have to knit her something from this.
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Then again, maybe not!

Who's laughing now.. Alicia!
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Friday, October 21, 2005

Double Digits

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This is an extra special birthday for Anna, because, as she says, "I'm into the double digits now!"

Every parent knows how special their child is, and Anna has truly blessed our lives. While she will always be my baby, she is growing up so fast!

In this picture, she is modeling the Harry Potter scarf that I made for my niece for Christmas. Below is another shot of Anna modeling the scarf (you will notice the lack of fringing - to be done later). You will also notice my new spinning wheel in the background. More on that another day.

Here are ten things that we love about Anna:

10. She fights you for the last black olive in the jar. Because she loves black olives so much, anyone serving black olives at a meal she is attending has to plan on buying an extra can so that they will last at least 3 minutes longer!

9. Her laughter comes from her toes. She laughs hard, and brings everyone around her into her laughter. It is one of those true, deep down, "I am honestly tickled" kinds of laughs.

8. She has my sense of direction. You can put her anywhere in the state of Wisconsin, and she can find her way home. She is like me with this, and can find any place after she has been there once. This really irritates my husband and my other daughter who often get lost in our own back yard.

7. Anna is a great swimmer. She has improved from being one of the last swimmers to finish every race to becoming one of the first swimmers to finish every race. She improved this much in a year. She is dedicated, and wants to do her best.

6. She can bait her own fishing hook. Worms are her friends. Need I say more?

5. Anna can cross her eyes and make each eye go in the opposite direction. She was blessed with this gift since birth, and I would often show her off as a circus act when she did this as a baby, most often while drinking her bottle. I have never quite gotten used to it, and I'm never sure if it is creepy, or funny.

4. If you are planning a shopping day, take Anna. She will walk and look and look, and knows how to find a bargain. Anna also likes coffee. This comes in handy when you are shopping with her. A coffee break is a treat for her, too! Starbucks is our hangout while my older daughter is at soccer practice. She drinks her coffee with plenty of cream and sugar. And lets it cool awhile before sipping.

3. From the time she was 6 months old, Anna new what she liked in a motorcycle. Harley Davidson has always been IT. If a motorcycle would pull up to next to our van, she would lean over in her carseat and check it out. If it was a Harley, we would hear, "Ohhhhhhs" coming from her, but if it was another brand of motorcycle, she would look away. The funny part is, no one in our family has a motorcycle of any kind. She is our only Harley Girl.

2. Anna is a traveler. Like me, she is happiest when we have driven no less than 15 hours with no more than two bathroom breaks. She will sit and stare out the window, be soothed by the rhythm of the road, and think. She even thinks about thinking. On a recent trip to my brother's house, she asked how long it would take to get there. "Six hours," I told her.
"Oh, that's not very long," was her reply. And she meant it.

1. No one gives a hug like Anna. You can still feel her hug two hours later.

Happy Double Digit Birthday Honey! I can't wait to celebrate your Triple Digit Birthday!

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Needs and Wants - And Will Do!

Following Iris’ lead, I googled to find out what I need. Here’s my list:

Kristyn needs the help of Riley.
Kristyn needs a stalker.
Kristyn needs the club affiliation motions on the agenda.
Kristyn needs a domain fund.
Kristyn needs the authority.
Kristyn needs someone like me!
Kristyn needs more music up on the site.

Finding out what I need left me wanting to know the answers to the following questions:

Who the hell is Riley and when will he start helping me?

Will Riley clean out my closets so that I can have more knitting time, or will that become the job of my new stalker?

Can all club members leave a donation to my new fund? Is everyone who reads my site a “club member” (wink, wink)?

And, who exactly is that “someone like me” person? Should my husband be worried now that he lives 3 ½ hours away during the week? Maybe I shouldn’t tell him so that he won’t worry.

Anyway… tonight we are off on another road trip. What will I do? Spend 24 hours here with all expenses paid:

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Kalahari Resort

I knew that you would be jealous.

Knitting is packed – after school, we hit the road! I meet up with DH on the highway and we get an extra day as a family. Well, us girls swim while DH sits in a conference. Shucks for him, huh?

Friday, October 07, 2005

I's Kin Kount

When I'm afraid that I can't do something, I let it sit. This would explain the boxes and boxes of family pictures waiting for me to get over my fear of scrap-booking. And it would explain the alpaca shawl that is still sitting on needles, after working on it for two years. I sure could use those needles.

Anyway, I cast on the ribbing to the romper pattern I'm making to go with the baby items I've knit. Cast on 44 stitches. Work in K1 P1 rib for 3 1/8" (like that extra 1/8" is noticeable???? Who writes this stuff? Will a newborn baby refuse to wear the romper if the ribbing is only 3" long?). Increase 42 stitches evenly in next row. This was easy sailing. Not a problem. Work round and round and round and round on dpns. Normally ribbing is pretty boring, but I worked this quickly, afraid of the next step.

You see I would have to count. Count to 3 and count to 4 at the same time. After the ribbing was done, I set the romper down for a few days and it taunted me. I knew the deadline for these babies was coming faster and faster with each day, so finally I tempted fate. I started my two rows of stst. Then I worked the pattern row as I had done for the sweater, the bonnet, the sleeves, and the booties. Ok. I could do it. Maybe. On to the dreaded next row which would start the double counting frenzy, I told myself that row 1 was also row 4. Increase. No big deal, but now the next row was row 2 and row 1. Then I worked row 3 which was a pattern row and was also row 2. Next came row 1 - 3. and then 2 - 4 which was an increase. Every time I put it down, I made sure it was either on a row 3 (pattern) or row 4 (increase) to help me figure out exactly where I was.

By the time I had worked 5" I could work the first counting by glance and only had to count rows for the increases. Well, I only had to count increase rows out loud, pattern rows emerged in my head.

Now I've started the second leg, and I'm able to count both sets without my mind going numb anymore. I's Kin Kount!