Sunday, June 29, 2008

Open House

One never knows. Build it and they will come is a great motto to go by. Posters were plastered around town plus emailed to all my newsletter recipients.  Notice was said in my twice a month article in the Broader View Weekly. Then an unexpected neat 3-inch column telling about the Open House was printed on the first page of the second section of the Ithaca Journal. Too cool! Even with all of that I was nervous no one would show up. We went merrily ahead with the motto chanting in my brain. I made lists and more lists.  Items were checked off each day as I had a calendar of what to do when.

On Friday we put up the new canopy. Sheesh is that thing heavy. However it does go up relatively easily, is very sturdy and has weathered winds quite well. We also laid out some outdoor rugs that were duct taped together which gave a festive feel under the 10 by 23 space. Inside the shop there was a cheese tray, cherries, apricots, grapes, a bread bowl, chocolate covered strawberries (on Sat) and cold drinks in a cooler. The beautiful bouquet was a gift from Vickie M. (And that is the Iris Sock and a sneak preview of the Keeburu Cable Clog sock on the windowsill).
Jim was in charge of music and door prizes. He tried to get live music but since it was also  Ithaca Festival weekend anyone we wanted was busy.  So Jim went with  an eclectic selection of his CD’s and did a great job on both the music and getting people to sign up for door prizes. Jim also put up balloons and signs by the road and turning points which helped direct people and even flagged a few who had not heard of the Open House. Thank you. I could not have done this without your help and support.

By 11:30 on Saturday we were all ready with Ruth arriving early to help with anything last minute plus the spinning and knitting demos. She did a spectacular job all afternoon. Thank you.

AND at 11:45 our first visitors arrived! Karen B (who just learned to spin) and her husband from Sayre, PA chose to come to our event rather than a wedding! And following them was a steady procession of knitters, spinners, felters and a plethora of vets whom also spin/knit/felt. Basel was in his element getting pets from kids and adults most of the afternoon.
Folks made earrings, spun, chatted, knit, ate, spun, knit, ate, shopped, and seemed to be having a good time. Audrey, of 3-bobbin fame, came with a large bucket of peonies, which we set on the deck so the smell could waft by us all afternoon.

Alanna came with her Mom and Aunts from near Syracuse. She has not shown any interest in knitting but took to felting as a duck to water. Alanna is a natural artist. Her flowers and bird are spectacular. They were done solely from her mind without looking at a picture.

Sunday was supposed to be rainy but the clouds kept their water until after the Open House. Fewer people came that day but those that did stayed longer. Several learned to spindle spin and many brought their knitting.

I enjoyed meeting so many new people from the area and beyond. We all enjoyed the camaraderie of being together sharing our skills and getting to know one another a bit. Thanks to all of you, this Open House will become a yearly event.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Getting Ready

You are all invited to come to our Open House on Saturday and Sunday.  Of course for some of you getting here might prove a bit of a problem but.......

Jim has built a nice 8 by 12 foot deck for the shop and put up railings along the driveway to finish off the work done last year in widening it.  Thank you Jim.

Many perennials and annuals have been planted along the driveway to pretty it up too.  I have been also dyeing up lots of yarn and fiber (with a new color to introduce this weekend) plus trying to organize the food  (including chocolate dipped strawberries) and knitting/spinning activities.  Jim is in charge of the music and the door prizes.  

Tomorrow we will set up the new canopy.  Yes, a new one that is much much heavier but has roof vents plus two awnings that can actually expand its 10 by 10 footprint to 10 by 23.  This one will not bend so easily in the wind and we now have leg weights too.

The grands are here helping Jim with the finishing of the construction and cleanup.  After lunch they will be helping me do the June Fondle This! mailing.  Tucker and Amelia have become quite expert shipping assistants.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Are guys born this way?

Just wanted to let you all know that the guy with the fix-it genes returned from the Adirondacks yesterday.  Today he went to tackle the AC unit.  

First he wanted me to let it run for a while because he said it sounded like something was rubbing and maybe it was a chipmunk nest which would rub away with time.  So I went back to packing up orders with a loud whine in the background.  A few minutes later I heard a loud noise.  Jim was hitting on the side of the thing.  Really banging it.  The whine did lessen a bit. Then he hits it again and again and again. With each hit the sound got less until finally it was a regular AC noise.
OK- here is his reasoning.  He knew the noise was from rubbing, not lack of oil.  He can tell things like that.  People call and he listens to the noise of their spinning wheel on the phone and can tell them what to do to make the noise go away.

Then he remembered that in the winter, when all those heavy branches fell, that one 'rested' on the AC unit.  That meant that something inside had gotten skewed so he decided that hitting it from the other direction would unskew it.  And it did!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hiding from the Heat

When it is this hot I know I can go up into the shop and stay there as long as possible, taking anything that needs doing with me. However the very afternoon Jim left for 5 days in the Adirondacks the fan on the AC started whining really badly. I called Jim, who told me it needed lubricant. OK but getting to the fan is not easy. I hesitate to unscrew the screws on the housing. What if it all falls off? That left me peering through the slots on the top and on both sides, turning the fan on and off trying to locate it. I know better than to turn the AC on and off. Finally, finally I saw the blades stop so knew where to send the oil. However they are under the front end of the housing and not easily accessible with a little oil bottle no matter how I try to get my fingers in there.

Physical Note: Dripping oil goes directly down at a 90-degree angle. It will not go at another angle without real help. That is a gravity fact.

The above being not only true but proven I searched around for something long but thin that would not absorb the oil. Finally a length of plastic was found so I angled the plastic (I had already dropped a shorter one into the thing) dripped the oil onto that, let it slide with gravity and presumably into the fan.  I tried many times - meaning going outside to drip oil then coming back inside to turn on the fan. Each time I was hopeful. I could see the oil going onto the shaft. And each time after the fan was turned on  I heard the same whine. After about 10 tries the fun and games were called to a halt. Surely if the oil was going to do its thing it would have by now.

Then I thought more about this. It makes sense that a piece of electrical equipment that has more than half its body hanging outside will have its parts well shielded from the elements. Sigh…it will need to wait for the male human in the family who definitely has more fix-it genes than I do.  He is due back late Friday.

Meanwhile back in the heat.
The kitchen contains the only AC in the house (remember we live in the northeast where we used to rarely need the stuff). Fans are now set up to blow cool air to whatever location I happen to be working in. It is very comfortable too but for the second floor, which is just plain hot. We will not discuss the occasional pseudo thunder storm drizzle that adds humidity to the already high count. At night windows can be opened which let the room and house naturally cool but with it being well over 70 by 8 am they get closed up pretty fast in the morning.

However despite the heat I am making progress on the clog sock. Some light worsted weight Peruvian Highland singles were dyed for this cable masterpiece. About 2 rows at a time can be knit before my hands need to be dried off and a glass of water is chugged.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Plying My Trade

When Audrey L. taught me to spin, and then loaned me her wheel so I could practice, she told me that all one ever needed was 3 bobbins. No more, no less. At the time I didn’t get it but over the course of those 5 weeks her Louet bobbins sure did fill up with beginner bulky yarn. Louet bobbins hold 8+ ounces so maybe that was why she had only 3 after many years with the same wheel. All I know is I bought her another bobbin as a present when the wheel was returned. Those few weeks taught me a whole lot about spinning. One of them being that I am not a 3-bobbin kind of gal.

I am planning a cardigan of my own design. The colors to be spun and mostly which fibers will be used have been decided. Now that SmokeyBlue is not going after basket reeds (well at least in this reality) I decided to dedicate one of many pretty baskets to this project. It could even sit by my chair without fear of becoming bunny snacks. So then I proceeded to empty the chosen one of more than several half and full bobbins plus fiber in many varieties and colors waiting their turn at the wheel. It was interesting looking through just one basket to see what I had intended to do. I am so fickle that unless the project gets started right away another may call my attention first.

The next goal was to find some empty bobbins. I mainly spin with a double treadle Baynes but have a cute little Wendy for back up. Jim and I also share a Louet S-15 that is our dedicated plying wheel. I could find several Louet bobbins waiting and ready but only one Wendy was empty and all my Baynes were full or half full too. I do have a problem with plying. I fall asleep. This means unless I really really need the yarn intended, the singles will sit on a bobbin for months. One of the negatives to being a Baynes dealer is my ready access to empty bobbins. Hence the plethora of half and full bobbins of singles sitting in the basket, on the wheel and on a shelf. No more taking bobbins out of stock. No NO NO Soooo

I went on a plying spree this week.
Lookee here.
I have traded several full Louet bobbins for empty, ready to go Wendy and Baynes. And some of the plied yarn is already into center pull balls. You know this actually feels very good. Yarn and more yarn. YES! Various yarns can go into stash or onto the website as many UFO singles were transformed.

Now to tackle that basket.