In my last post, written in the late fall, I noted that weaving was losing out to puppy training. That is still the case. However, Finn has us much better trained now. He is just about 6 months, 60 pounds, and he is becoming a very fine dog. Finn is well behaved, having never touched looms, spinning wheels, knitting, or any fiber equipment, even though it is everywhere throughout the house.
We had quite the dump of snow on December 26 and it turns out that Finn loves snow! He loves pets and cuddles and staying close to his humans, running and playing with other dogs, and he needs lots of exercise. This is actually a good thing, but it means I don’t get the sort of aerobic activity I need and I’m certainly without time to weave.
However, the biggest reason there is no weaving happening here is . . . we are moving.
It’s not that we were keeping it a secret. People who knew us very well were certainly aware. But no announcements were made until recently because of Michael’s work. As a psychotherapist, he had to first inform the clinic where he worked and, second, inform the many clients he worked with. That is a lengthy and painful process. As of a few days ago, I now welcome Michael to the ranks of retired folks! It is his third time but maybe this time it will stick.
So, it’s all official now. We are moving north to Washington. In fact, the moving company comes to pack us in just a matter of days. It is amazing how many little, and some very big, pieces must all fit together to make this work!
I will spare you all the boring details (there are a great deal of them), but the rapidly spinning wheels are in motion, and we will soon be leaving California. Michael is a California native, having lived here all his life. And I’ve been here just over 40 years. We love our house, so this is no small thing we undertake, especially at our ages.
We very much miss living by the ocean but, to be honest, our move is also about climate change, drought, excessive heat, and severe risk of wildfire. Yes, there is climate change where we are headed but not at the rates we see here, in the foothills of our beloved Sierra Nevada.
I have a large, framed poster that perfectly sums it up. It is a great leap of faith. If you know us, you know we have been doing our homework. For years, even. But still. It really is a leap of faith that we will find what we seek where we seek it.
We have been busy purging what we are willing to part with, carting off decades of old business documents for shredding (over 100 pounds so far), and sorting through the memorabilia of our lives. We've been passing things along to offspring, finding a new home for various pieces of furniture, and leaving books in the little neighborhood libraries that have popped up during the pandemic. I sorted through all my knitting and spinning stash and organized my weaving stash for packing.
Most of our possessions, including my looms, will be in storage until we find our new home. We are packing what we think we may need for a few months while staying in temporary lodging.
The very first thing I packed was, of course, knitting and spinning materials. But I packed them with purpose, sorting what projects I would knit, so only bringing those yarns and needles.
I will have my Hansen miniSpinner Pro with me and a selection of those eye candy, hand dyed braids to spin. I will also take my Gilmore Miniwave band loom so I can finish the handfasting band that has been on there since before my dear daughter postponed her 2020 wedding the first time due to covid. She’s trying for the third time to have the wedding this summer so that band will be the first thing I work on after arriving on Whidbey Island in less than a month.
I have joined the Whidbey Weavers Guild and I am looking forward to meeting my new guildmates. My guild here, the Foothill Fibers Guild, has been my anchor and will be sorely missed! I’m pleased to have been of a bit of service to my guild and I have found a member to take over my Web Manager duties.
When too exhausted by Finn or purging and other moving related details, I have been doing a bit of knitting and spinning.
I had a yearning to knit a sweater recently and before I started looking for a pattern, an ad at the bottom of a Ravelry page caught my eye. The pattern is the Safra Sweater.
After a quick search I found some great yarn and in very little time I had knitted the sweater. I would still like to weave a band for the button band but that will have to wait until I finish the handfasting band in a month or so. Buttons were easy to find on Etsy and I’m delighted with the sweater and how it fits. The yarn, unfortunately now discontinued, was a dream to knit. It is 85/15 merino and alpaca in a worsted weight.
A few months ago I was sorting through things in my fiber room and I determined to use some of those souvenir skeins that have been sitting in baskets for a few years. I selected some bulky single ply yarn from a fun little shop in Sigtuna, Sweden.
We visited Sigtuna, where some of our cousins live, in 2019. It is a lovely area and we had a wonderful day visiting the village. There is very rich history in this area. We visited several sites, including a museum that held some early spinning artifacts.
I decided to knit a hat using the white and the black yarn from Sigtuna. The pattern was easy stranded knitting, or so I thought. I should have known better.
My thumbs are too arthritic to knit bulky yarn on size six needles. It was a painful knit so I only did a little bit at time. The hat fits and will keep me warm on windy beach walks on the island. It would be much too warm for use here in California.
I’m also working on a project that I started knitting in 2012. I took it with me when I visited Scotland that spring. That is a very long time to be on the needles! It is a cowl in a stranded pattern knit with a solid purple fingering weight yarn and a variegated yarn. I will end the cowl by grafting in the round, a new knitting task for me.
The pattern was copied from a knitting magazine I long ago recycled and was terribly faded. Besides that, I only knit using KnitCompanion now. So, I recreated the chart in PatternGenius, transferred it to KC, and easily figured out where I was. It is nearly finished.
I think one of the reasons I let this project hibernate for so long is that the weather here is too warm for cowls. This is not the case in Washington! I'm glad I will get to use some of my woolens.
Just before Finn came to live with us in October, I started spinning one of Ilga Jansons hand painted braids. I enjoyed spinning on the Lendrum and Finn never tried to interfere with it.
The yarn is a Z-spun, S-plied two-ply fingering weight and I will save it for weaving a scarf.
With the move coming up quickly, my Lendrum is packed away so I started a new braid on my miniSpinner. This is also one of Ilga’s braids. This will be a slightly finer spin, again a two ply, and likely for weaving.
Continuing a tradition that I began last year, I started knitting a new lace shawl on Imbolc, or Brigid’s day. This ancient holiday marks the half-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is a time of rebirth, the return of the light, and a time of rededication.
My intention to knit lace is, for me, about my commitment to mindfulness and the practice of mindfulness. Knitting lace involves being mindful. I wrote about that a few years ago in a post I titled A Meditation in Lace and Cables.
This year, the project features more souvenir skeins. It is a two-ply Gotland fingering weight yarn from a shop in Edinburgh. During a visit there in 2017, I ended up running DH through the hills of the city to get to the shop before it closed. He won’t let me forget that!
I just started the project so there isn’t much to see at this point. The shawl features lace and cables. I’m looking forward to knitting it, especially since I believe I am on my way to having set things up correctly.
Soon I will be putting a “Closed” sign on my online Shop and disabling the checkout cart. It’s only temporary but it will be a few months before I can access my inventory. In the meantime, I will be further dismantling the home Michael and I created together and have loved for 14 years. Shortly we will be setting off on our new adventure and hoping we can quickly find a new home to settle in. Of course, I am imagining a nice sized, light-filled weaving studio as part of our new home.
There will be lots of boxes, a very large puppy to tend to, a three-day drive to temporary lodgings (we will take it slowly with dog and small trailer to consider), and new faces and places to encounter. Drafts I intend to weave are stacking up and crowding my computer but first we must find a home for two humans, one large puppy, and three looms. Wish us luck in our adventure and our search!
Since we are not experiencing winter weather here, in Northern California, I will leave you with a photo of the Highlands I took while in Scotland in 2012.
May you have peace of mind and of heart. May you enjoy the blessings of the ordinary, everyday miracles that are right in front of us. And may there be peace and healing on our planet.
I’ll write again from our new location.