Merry Christmas To All

The hustle and bustle is done; it was a very good Christmas. Although the Colorado branch couldn't be with us (even if they had tried, I don't think they could have gotten out of Denver - they're still shoveling out from last week's blizzard) and Matt elected to sleep after working a midnight shift, we had a great day at Vickie's.

We had to get up early (ok, it was 7:30; that's an awful hour when you're a teen) for the drive to Llano. Gary looks like he's in shock.
Even if it is Christmas, he just doesn't like mornings.

I got one of my presents before we left -
For some reason, Dick didn't think this would fit in our car . . . he's probably right, but it would have been interesting to try. I love clocks and I've always wanted a grandfather or grandmother clock. But we've never had one for lack of space or lack of funds or lack of something-or-other. This one is beautiful - I love the burl in the top and along the bottom. Dick and I spotted this one months ago in a favorite furniture store and, unbeknownst to me, Dick has been going back almost weekly, waiting to see if the price would drop. It did - significantly - just in time for Christmas.

This wasn't a Christmas present, but Christmas day was the first chance I've had to take a photo. Dick made this for his sister. The stained glass window shows a spinning wheel and maru dai (a Japanese braiding stand used in Kumihimo).
I think he did an excellent job. This is only the third glass project he's done; he has a couple of others in the planning stage for around our house. Lucky me!


Christmas Stockings & Traditions

I finished these last night so I could wear them Christmas Day. This isn't the best photo, but it is closest to the correct color (on my monitor at least). The yarn is Wildfoote's 'Ragtime' and the colors are a blend of the deep reds, maroons, and purples of red wine. These are made from the toe up, from bits and pieces of various patterns. They're my longest socks yet - 10" from the top of the heel to the finished edge - I just kept going until I ran out of yarn. The leg pattern is a minicluster; I love the lacy look. And the short-row heel forms a really good, tight fit. Too tight. See the puckering at the bottom of the heel and over the arch of my foot? It's really a struggle to get them on. Sooooooo . . . after I wear them Christmas Day, I'm going to frog the legs, add a couple of stitches at the top of the foot, then redo the legs, and all will be well. In theory. I hope.

Christmas Eve TraditionsOne of my favorite Christmas Eve traditions is going out to Camarillo airport and waiting for a well-lighted Santa and his reindeer to do a fly-by. Every Christmas Eve, for about 12 years now, a local helicopter company has 'helped' Santa with his rounds. Early in the evening, they fly a published route over most of the county so youngsters can see Santa before going off to bed.
Santa was moving fast tonight, just a blur to my camera. Over the years, we've missed seeing Santa only a few times; once when he was rained out and a couple of times when someone in the family was sick.

After the fly-by, we tour some of the local neighborhoods that go all-out with decorations. One of our favorites is the T-bird Santa
(see Santa behind the wheel of the car? He's there every year.)

This house was nearby; the lights coming from the garage lead to a nearby power pole. It was an impressive display.
Be sure to check out Addison and The Night Before Christmas.


It's Not Even Christmas Yet . . .

And I have presents! The birthday I don't celebrate (or is it that I'm counting backwards now? I can never remember.) was last week. My best present was having dinner with hubby and three of our kids - the ones Rachel refers to as the 'California branch'. With Marie's and Matt's busy schedules, it's difficult to get everyone in the same place at the same time. I was really pleased that it worked out.

It was the ultimate birthday haul, with lots of my favorite things - Godiva chocolate and perfume (thanks, Matt!), Barnes & Noble gift card (thanks, Marie!), a handmade Christmas corsage (thanks, Gary!) and equipment for my (our - Dick likes hot
glass projects as much as I do -) newest hobby - Dick also signed us up for a glass bead making class in February. Can't wait!

From Vickie, the ultimate new-grandma toy -
Now I can bore, er, share Addy's latest photos with everyone. Plus, it's an electronic gizmo for me to play with. Love it!

And from Wenona. Elvis socks.
Official Elvis socks, straight from Graceland. That rocks.


I'm Done

Today was my self-imposed deadline for mailing presents to Colorado. I completed most of my projects -

A super soft lockerhooked rug for Addy's room made with Corriedale wool roving. This is my second rug - the first one I've completely finished - and while I love locker hooking, I'm going to have to find another way to finish the edges. Crocheting the border just about killed my hands and wrists.

A fleece blanket with crocheted border, also for Addy. I'm really pleased with this project - the fleece was on sale at Joann's for .99; the yarn is leftovers from my stash. And the frogs make an incredibly cute blanket that I think Addy (and her mom) will love.

Done! Another stash-buster blanket. This fleece remnant cost $1.19 and the border is more stash yarn. I love the cats. And . . . .

Not done. (sorry about the crummy photos; I just couldn't get my camera to cooperate today.) The cotton sweater is done (except for seaming the cuffs) but I'm just not feeling the love for these pants. Not wanting to hold up the rest of the presents, I told myself I'd finish these & mail them later. Anybody want to bet on whether or not they get done?


Something Old, Something New

The house is all dressed for the holidays. When the kids were small, I'd start bugging Dick the day after Thanksgiving for us to get a tree and put up our decorations. Now that they're older, I'm in less of a hurry; some years I don't want to do the decorations at all. But Dick is a traditionalist - decorating for Christmas is a must.

In the yard, Santa presides over California snow
(no, not the illegal kind - a white plastic tarp) and skiing teddy bears. Inside, the tree has place of honor, just inside the front door. This is the first year we've gotten a Noble fir; we usually cut our own Douglas fir at a local tree farm. Matt's officer's association is selling trees to raise money for various causes, so we bought from them this year. I really like the Noble. I think we'll be getting those from now on.

Each year we try to add one or two things to our holiday collection. This year was blown glass ornaments and this wreath that Gary made in his florist class.
We also have our older favorites - a porcelain Santa that Carolyn hand-painted for us over 25 years ago. Santa doesn't get packed up with the other decorations after the holidays. He has his own special place - the top shelf of my closet, securely padded with blankets. I really love this jolly old guy.

And Santa's best reindeer.
This one was painted by Vickie, also about 25 years ago. (Man, I'm feeling old.) The kids always liked taking Rudy apart and (occasionally) putting him back together again. It isn't Christmas until Rudy is standing by the fireplace.

And just so you don't think I'm the least talented of the Sisters "P", (I am; Vickie & Carolyn are phenomenal artists) I painted this many years ago before I fell under the spell of all things fiber and gave up tole painting.
And my favorite holiday philosophy. Merry Christmas!


More Fun Than Anyone Should Have

Look what we did tonight: Aren't they pretty? Dick & I took a blown glass ornament class at our local glass store. I've always been fascinated by glass blowing but thought it was difficult, equipment intensive, and hot. Guess what? It's fun, fairly easy, and addictive. We were the only ones in the class so we were able to work at our own speed and experiment more than we might have otherwise. The instructor gave us a brief overview and safety lesson; we were making our own ornaments within 20 minutes. We had a few mishaps - one of my ornaments exploded all over the worktable - and some are not the most shapely you'll ever see, but we had a lot of fun and most of our creations are keepers. We thought we'd each have about 12 usable ornaments when we were done. Wrong. We have more than 50, in all colors and shapes. So, are we starting a new hobby? Probably. We both want to take more hot glass classes - bead making, dichroic glass jewelry, fusing, and more. Let's see . . . if we move the furniture out of the living room, we could put in a kiln and work tables and . . . . Anybody want a glass Christmas ornament?


Yes, Another One

I walked into the house this afternoon & Gary said, "You got another one?" Yep, I did. Dick & I went to the Rose Bowl Flea Market today (for the first time. Definitely won't be the last. It's incredible.) It wasn't very crowded, which was surprising since the Christmas shopping season is in full swing. We finally figured it out - see the clouds in this photo? That's "weather". Southern Californians don't do "weather". We got 3/4" (or less) of rain in 2 hours last night with some light sprinkles after that. The local news stations were on "storm watch". It makes me laugh every time it rains. But it was good for us today - a nice, peaceful shopping experience. But I digress.

Now that Dick has committed (or should be committed, not sure which . . . ) to repairing spinning wheels as a part-time business, I'm on a mission to rescue as many wheels as I can. This is Maggie. We believe Maggie is of German ancestry. She has several things that I love in an older wheel - castle-style, wooden pegs square nails, and leather parts (the leather is in pretty good shape; probably not original.) And she has some significant issues - broken pieces, termite damage, dry rot, cracks and gouges, and large gaps where the wheel has pulled apart. All of which Dick says he can fix. The metal pieces are in good shape, the treadle and supports are sound, and the wheel and footman work well. Overall, Maggie has the makings of a great wheel. Oh, and I only paid $30 for her. I love flea markets!

And for those of you keeping count, Maggie makes seven.

Yarn Tails Tags:,


I Love Books

Months ago I bought a spinning book - Spinning And Weaving With Wool - on Ebay just because it was written by Paula Simmons. I got into a bidding war and paid more than I probably should have; I hate being outbid on things and can get ummmmm. . . . shall we say a little competitive. It's been sitting on a shelf, unread and bidding it's time, until tonight.

'Spinning' is an older book, written in the late 70's. I took a spin through it (sorry) at Susie's suggestion; turns out the book has photos and tech specs of all the wheels that were in production in the 70's and early 80's. My latest find, Madame Helga, is featured on page 75.

Helga is a Clemes and Clemes Kit Wheel. Once I knew that much, I was able to Google for information. Several blogs mention the wheel and I found this
photo - which shows exactly what parts Dick will need to manufacture to get Helga working again. She's more complete than we expected. She's missing 2 of the 3 adjustable wooden pegs holding the back of the flyer and the small piece of wood that holds the flyer to the front peg. Everything else looks like it's there. There's also a Yahoo group for Clemes owners (!); I'm hoping they'll have some good information on restoring Helga.

Most of the references I found say that Clemes wheels spin a thick yarn. They were designed for 70's spinning standards and lace weight wasn't the goal. I'm looking forward to putting Helga through her paces and seeing how well she spins. Dick is still determined to give her away but we'll see. Maybe I'll loan her out instead.


Meet Helga - and an FO

After today's Guild holiday party, we went to the annual Artist-in-Residence Holiday Sale at CSU Channel Islands. It's a great facility with lots of artists and a wide variety of mediums, including two weavers who are members of my guild. Dick & I try to go every year; we've never purchased anything, but it's fun to see how the center is growing and what everyone is working on.

Well, never purchased anything until this year. Guess what I found?
This is Helga*. We're not sure what Helga is (a local spinner told me she's a Penguin, but after looking at their website, I don't think that's true.) And Helga has a few issues - like missing parts. We have her flyer and bobbin, but no idea how to attach them. And this piece - but little clue what it does or where it goes. I'm hoping that with a little research, I'll find a picture or description that will help us put Helga back together. I searched the web tonight, but haven't had any luck so far. But her $15 price tag & Dick's woodworking abilities give her real potential as a treasure-in-the-rough.

I made this last night so I could wear it to today's party.
I found the shrug pattern in the Crochet Pattern-a-Day calendar. The yarn is, of course, from my favorite source - Deb at Fearless Fibers. This one is a 50/50 wool-alpaca blend called "Pumpkin Spice". Love the colors; love the texture. Nobody does colorways - especially browns - as well as Deb.

* I've no idea why "Helga"; it's just who she is. I told Rachel that I'd found a new wheel and that I wasn't planning on keeping her. I already have an idea where her new home will be, if we can get her working again. Rachel's reaction? "Don't name her. You'll never let her go." Too late. And she may be right.