Posts Tagged ‘fiber’

So, what was all that fuss about?  What is this Lendrum infatuation nonsense, you ask?  I can imagine my non-spinning readers really have no idea what I’m so excited about, so I just have to take a moment to share.  This is my Lendrum…

It has big knobs for easy adjustments…

And beautifully simple mechanisms…

And this nifty tattoo…

And why is a Lendrum a big deal?  Well, because it takes a complicated tool and makes it as simple as possible, because it has a loop instead of hooks, because it  spins so effortlessly, and because it simply caresses the yarn from my fingers.  And because THIS is what my spinning looks like on a Lendrum…

How do you like THEM APPLES?!?


The fiber, if you’re wondering, is not from my shop.  It’s some merino roving I picked up at MDSW last year from the lovely Dancing Leaf Farm — and very nice it is too!


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I have a little announcement to make…  No wait!  Close your mouth — I’m not pregnant.  In fact, I could make this announcement even more shocking than that if I followed the lead of a friend of mine who made my announcement in an email to her friends with the opening words, “Strawberry is dying!”

I’m not.  She’d misspelled it.

The thing is, you all know that ever since I left my job to become a stay-at-home mum, I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do when I eventually go back to work.  Knowing I didn’t want to go back to what I did previously, I’ve spent several years casting about for what might be the right career to go into.   Well, this is not it, but it is an itty-bitty baby step toward doing something I love.  A tiny step, and a huge step all at the same time.  And I am immensely excited about it.

I have been dyeing lately, quite a lot — that’s dyeing with an ‘e’  — and at some friends’ very enthusiastic encouragement, I have opened a shop on Etsy, called SpaceCadet Creations, where I sell my hand-dyed yarns and fiber.  Take a look:

I can honestly say I haven’t been this excited in a long time.  Mixing the colours myself (from the three primaries and black), seeing the results come out of the dyepot, putting the yarns and fiber up on Etsy, getting the email to say that someone has bought my stuff…  It feels fantastic.  When I grow up, I want to do a job that I love doing, and this — opening this shop, taking one bold baby-step towards that goal — has made me feel that that might actually be possible, for the first time in a long time.

Come, have a look at my shop and dance a little excited-dance with me!  And if you know anyone — anyone at all — who knits, spins, felts, or crochets, please, please send them my way.

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It takes a second — just one second.  When I first saw him, he was reaching out to take her hand and it looked so sweet that the corners of my mouth began to curl into an unconscious smile.  But in the very next moment, he turned his hand over and opened it, and the blood drained from my head as I gulped in a great breath of air and then let it out again in a desperate yell.

We were away this past weekend — our first trip away as a family in nearly three years, since before E2 was born even.  Granted, it was to visit a fibre festival and, so — though very exciting for me — it was not M’s cup of tea at all, but he soldiered on admirably and enjoyed the change of scenery at least.  The weather was good, the hotel was really very nice, and we had such a nice time that there was a part of me asking why we didn’t do this more often…?

The first reason is, of course, the chronic lack of funds, but the second reason is no less restricting.  Packing for a weekend away — even with toddlers trebling the job — should only take an afternoon, but it took me several days to prepare, because I wasn’t just packing our clothes, but cooking and packing all the food that three of our group would need for the three days we’d be gone, along with all the dishes and utensils, washing up liquid and sponge, cooler and ice.  And finding the best deal on a hotel should take an hour at most, but I spent a couple of evenings checking and cross-checking prices against reviews against amenities, because as well as having the best price, it was essential that room would be clean enough (no crumbs on the floor or in the corners) and we had to have at least a fridge and microwave guaranteed to be in the room.  And though my sister lives within an hour’s drive of our destination and I wrestled for days with the possibility of staying at her place for free, I finally followed my gut and declined her offer, because I know how thoroughly she (doesn’t) clean her flat, and the idea of conducting E2’s first field trial of her newly-discovered cat allergy not by gently exposing her for a few hours and then going home, but by immersing her in a cat-hair-covered apartment for three days and nights running seemed just too cruel, too big a risk to take.

So I was exhausted before the trip began.  And the car was laden down as if we didn’t expect to see civilisation for days.  And the epi-pens were to hand, along with a list of hospitals.  For three days, we ate cobbled-together, microwaved meals, sitting on the edge of the bed in the hotel room.  And I remembered why we don’t do this more often.

But the weekend was a huge success.  The room was beautifully clean.  To my relief, we didn’t run out of meals.  I loved the fibre-heaven of the festival, the girls loved the sheep and the music, and M… well, he survived it just fine.  The whole weekend turned out as refreshing as it was exhausting.  Most importantly, there were no emergencies — no one ate anything they weren’t supposed to.  It was a lot of hard work and organisation, but I think it was worth the effort.  And I think we’re going to try to get away again soon — perhaps a rented Winnebago, so we can cook fresh meals…

Today, I bundled the girls in the car and we drove 5 miles out of our way to the health food shop, where they sell the girls’ steel-cut oats and quinoa in dedicated bulk containers to ensure no cross-contamination.  We could buy the same thing from the supermarket that’s only two minutes from the house, but they change their bins around and I just don’t trust that they clean them thoroughly when they do.

“Please can we go to the park?” E1 asked on the way home. “Pleeeeease?”  The skies were threatening to storm, but they’d been so good, holding hands in the shop and touching nothing, most especially as we walked past shudder-inducingly dangerous bins of nuts.  Yeah, they’d been good as gold…  yeah, let’s go to the park and get what playing we could before the skies opened…

The girls headed straight for the slides — their favourite — and I looked for a bench to sit on and crack open my book.  Allergy-mums are known to hover over their kids — Helicopter Mums, they’re called — and I don’t really want to be that kind of mum, but it’s hard not to be.  It’s instinctive to want to stay very close, but the only bench open was a good twenty feet away and, though I felt pulled to watch their every move like a hawk, I forced myself to open my book and look down at it.  They’d be fine.  There were only a few other kids there.  I could read a book while I watched them.

I don’t know why I looked up when I did, but I did.  I don’t know why I looked to E2 instead of E1, but my eyes fell on her.  And on the six-year-old boy who was standing in front of her, with his hand outstretched.  I thought she’d made a friend, I thought it was sweet.  But when he turned his hand over and opened it, I saw that he was giving her something… some food… He was sharing his food!  And she… she was reaching up to take it.

No! Nooooo! NoNoNoNooooooo!!!!”  The other mothers’ heads jerked up and one of them leapt toward her boy.  I immediately scanned the bench were she’d been sitting: a box of graham-cracker-marshmallow-teddy-bear crap, no doubt with an ingredient list the length of my arm.  Yeah, something in there would have done her in, no doubt.  She’d have blown up like a balloon.  Or worse.

“She… she… has severe food allergies…” I explained hastily, breathily, pulling my baby back toward my chest and away from him.  The mother nodded, apologised, corrected her son… and then moved to the other end of the playground.  Had I overreacted?  Had I been too loud?  Too rude?  …Actually, I think I underreacted.  It had taken me seconds to get to my daughter.  It had taken full nano-seconds for the sound to rise from chest — too long… too long…  She’d nearly taken it out of his hand.  It can happen too quickly — it can happen in just one second.  And the result could be… unthinkable.  When the sakes are that high, what can be overreaction?

I realised I still had my daughter gripped tightly to my chest, and I let her go.  But first, a kiss on her sweet cheek… and another.  And a quick admonishment: You never take food from anyone else. Never.  And then a quick squeeze.  And then I could let her go.

And I spent the rest of our time at the park hovering — book banished and me never more than a few feet way from my daughters — while I waited… waited… waited for my heart to stop pounding in my chest, and the panick to subside, and the adrenaline to cease coursing through my veins.  Helicopter Mum, and for good reason.

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Pssst… Hey, listen…  I need your opinion on something.  Can you come and have a look?


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I had a little reminder this weekend of who I am — who I really am, grown-up me, when I’m not ever-fraught mummy, best-supporting spouse, finance-and-household officer, lost-and-confused nomad. When I am just me, the way I was —oh! — so many years ago. This weekend, we took my sister’s car back to her and combined it with a side-trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

That I spent more money than I had budgeted for, or even that I had to spend, was no matter. That my mother and sister and dear children were bored, hot, and exhausted made no difference to me at all. That there was next to nothing that I could eat and so I went all day so little food that it would have normally had me shaking with hunger was no problem. I was in my element, I was beside myself with excitement, I felt like myself again — it was marvelous! My sister looked at my face at one point and laughed out loud. “You look crazed!” she said. “You’re so excited. You’re like a kid!”

And, looking back, it taught me a few things as well. I realised just how much I need to make a bit of time each day to do something for me, something that makes me feel productive, creative, and which I love (…besides raising my daughters — which I do love with all my soul, but you know what I mean). I don’t get that time these days — hardly ever — and I didn’t realise how much I missed it until I was immersed in so many things I’d love to spend that time doing, if only I had it again.

I realised I am in serious need of some local fibre-friends who really get what this means to me. And, so I don’t have to subject my poor family to any more long, hot, dirty days at the county fairgrounds, surrounded by bleating sheep and a frenzied me. They were patient, but we were on two different planets.

And… I realised that when it’s time to go back to work (which M increasingly is hinting is now), I need to do everything I can to find a job that really fulfills me. I want to work in a field that leaves me feeling as alive inside as I felt this weekend, something that permeates my dreams the way it did, something that inspires me so much that I would forgo precious sleep and get up 3 hours early just in order to go back on my own for more. I dread the thought of going back to work because I dreaded the work I used to do. I want to love my work. I want to be productive and creative and passionate about my work. I want that heart-pounding, mouth-salivating excitement that I felt this weekend.

I have no idea how I’ll pull that off. But I am old enough now, and experienced enough, to know that I don’t want to settle for anything less.

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