Friday, August 25, 2006

Well, here we are. The last day on the island. We're leaving on the 10:25 ferry this morning, bound for La Grande, Oregon, by way of the east coast of the US. A bit roundabout, but we decided to take the three or so weeks before Shaun has to report to his new job and have a vacation. I may not be posting much before the middle of September, but I'll be composing on the road and taking pictures!

We're going up into Canada for a couple days, to camp and watch the Ironman Canada triathlon that some of Shaun's friends are participating in, then we're off on a monumental camping trip across the country. Through a bit of Idaho, then across the width of Montana, North Dakota, Wisconson, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, and possibly on to Maine. We haven't totally figured out the return route yet, but it will be through the middle of the country, as we both want to go through Colorado. We have our National Parks pass, and plan to take shortish days to accomodate Emma and see some sights. We're also stopping in Columbus, Ohio to pick up the pop-up camper trailer we just bought!

We're taking the dog and cat, which I'm not entirely sure is a good idea. We'll see how it goes. They're usually good travellers, but this is a long trip!

So alas and farewell, San Juan Island. We'll be back next summer for Shaun's teaching and research, but it won't be the same.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Fair last week was great fun. Emma had so much fun walking around and looking at all the animals. The sheep and the goats were her favorites, I think. She was a little intimidated by the big animals- horses and cows- this year, but the small ones were "cute" and "sweet.".

She had a great time feeding bits of hay to the sheep and pygmy goats.

(I'd have to agree, pygmy goats are VERY cute and sweet.)

In addition to the Romney cross sheep pictured above, there was a quite varied selection of sheep breeds represented this year:


Dorset cross



There were also Cheviot, Southdown, and Border Leicester present, but I didn't get photos of them, due to a fast-moving toddler.

There was also a Welsh Highland cow, a very impressive beast. Amazing horns and shaggy coat.

All in all, a fun week. And I introduced Emma to the joys of fried dough.

We enjoyed it, though I'm glad this is a once-a-year indulgence. The ice cream and homegrown berries from the local island creamery were much better!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Whee!!!! The Fair is on, and....

I won!! Blue ribbon, Best of Class, and BEST OF SHOW for the sewing thread daffodil filet crochet panel, and.....

blue ribbon and Best of Class for Emma's handspun gansey, and.....

blue ribbon, Best of Class, and the special Mary Fox Award for Handspun Yarn for my laceweight tussah silk two-ply!!!!!!

(Mary Fox was a local handspinner/knitter/weaver/shepherd who was very active in the San Juan County Textile Guild, and had this award named after her when she passed away several years ago. I never knew her, but have seen some of the yarn she made, and have spun wool from the decendents of her flock of sheep.)

So exciting!!! More later!!! I need to stop using exclamation marks!!!

Friday, August 11, 2006

I spent an hour or so yesterday afternoon, while Emma napped, plying up all the white wool. I took the wheel outside on the deck, and watched the whales and seals while I plied.

I started spinning this wool a month or so ago on my Ashford wheel, then finished the singles on the new Schacht. I had two bobbins from the Ashford, and one from the Schacht. When plied together, the Schacht bobbin matched up with 1 2/3 Ashford bobbins, then I plied the rest of the Ashford bobbin on itself.

Each skein is about 275 yards of medium weight two-ply. I haven't measured the wraps per inch, but it's bulkier than my "default" yarn, probably about 8-10 wraps per inch. I'm not entirely sure what kind of wool this is- the fleece was a gift from a friend, and she told me at the time what it was but now I can't remember. I'm pretty sure it started with a "C", and I know it's not Corriedale or Cormo. It feels a lot like Romney or Border Leicester (but softer), so I think maybe it's Coopworth. It's not super fine or super soft, but it is bright creamy white, fairly long-stapled, easy to spin, and has gorgeous luster. The luster wasn't immediately apparent in the unspun fiber, but the finished yarn fairly sparkles. So very satisfying to know that I took this from a dirty fleece, and washed, carded, and spun it myself.

I also measured out a 3 yard warp for the little two harness loom yesterday. We're using it at the Fair as a hands-on demonstration loom for the public to weave on, and I said I'd get it all set up. Why I said this, I don't know, since my warping board and new warping mill are both packed for the move! However, necessity is the mother of invention:

I measured the warp on the side of the steps down from the deck! Unconventional, but it worked beautifully. I even made a cross. I'll try and thread the loom tonight or tomorrow morning.

The Fair is next week!!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Looky looky! Here they are, my new-to-me toys! We left Sunday night, stayed in a hotel in Olympia, drove to Portland Monday, and picked them up. Due to the incompetence of my bank, we had a bit of trouble getting the money out to pay for it, and so wasted a couple hours going back and forth with them. That meant that we missed the last ferry back on Monday night, and had to stay over on the mainland until Tuesday morning. But it all worked out and I got my wheel and loom!

First, is a Schacht Matchless single treadle wheel. Love it. See that full bobbin? That's what I did last night. It's such a smooth wheel, and easy to spin.

I used up all the wool I left out when I packed up. I think this bobbin holds nearly twice as much as an Ashford bobbin. Fabulous. It came with three bobbins, a niddy noddy, and two flyer whorls (total of four ratios: 8.5, 10, 11, and 13.5).

And here's the loom:

An eight harness Schacht Baby Wolf, 26" weaving width, with a TON of accessories. It came with a four-drawer dresser full of yarn and miscellaceous tools. Four single-bobbin boat shuttles, a double-bobbin boat shuttle, a ski shuttle, several stick shuttles, lots of extra bobbins, an 8-dent and a 15-dent reed, a 36" warping mill, a raddle, lease sticks, warp sticks, a bench, a swift, a bobbin winder, a ball winder, more than a dozen weaving books, and lots of extra heddles. And an inkle loom and a 4" square weavette loom, just for good measure.

I can't wait to get settled in Oregon, so I can play with this.
Things are slowly getting back to "normal." As normal as the next couple months can be, that is. We're moved into our temporary housing, thanks to a very good and kind friend who offered her cabin for the whole time we need it, until we leave the island.

As you can see, it really can't be beat.

It's one room, with no running water or electricity, but the location is spectacular. It's on the west side of the island, overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Haro Strait, and the Olympic Mountains. The whole front of the house is windows, looking out over the water.

Every morning, we've seen orca whales passing by. If you click to enlarge this picture, you can see the six-foot-tall dorsal fin of a large male to the right of the picture.

The first morning, I watched a pair of bald eagles catch a salmon and eat it on the rocks right in front of the cabin.

And of course, the sunsets are glorious.

I feel very lucky.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Pant, pant, gasp, gasp. Whew. The horrible week is finally over. Yay!

Packing? Check.
Moving? Check.
Cleaning? Check.
Moving into temporary dwelling? Check.

Day of rest? Check. Thank goodness.

Shaun and I were both exhausted last night. All that stress and worry and lifting boxes and sadness at leaving our first very-own-house was a little too much. Today we are not going into work (except right now for the internet), we don't have to pack, and we don't have to do anything except take care of Emma.

We're feeling much better today, especially since we found out that we were approved for the rental house we applied for in La Grande. Yay! We have a place to live when we get to Oregon! This is such a huge load off my mind. I had no idea just how incredibly stressed I was about this until the worry was gone and I felt so much better. I don't do well with uncertainty in my living arrangements. It's a nice-looking house with a yard and a garage, in a part of town that we liked when we drove around La Grande last month. (We camped again on that trip, and is was another good experience. Emma really likes camping!)

When we were there, we looked at several houses to buy but none of then immediately jumped out and grabbed us, plus it's hard to buy a house long distance, so we decided to just rent for a while and take our time looking for a house. I think this was a good way to go.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Thought I'd pop in for a quick update on the chaos that is my life this week:

1. MOVING: Packing proceeds apace. Shaun is finally helping. We have three more days until closing, but only two until the furniture has to be out so the carpet can be cleaned.

2. HEALTH: I babysit for two boys, age 7 and 5. Here's how our last month looked.
  • Four weeks ago, Kai (7-year-old) was sick with a fever and respiratory virus.
  • Three and a half weeks ago, Nik (5-year-old) was diagnosed with mononucleosis after being cranky, low-grade-feverish, and out of sorts for a couple weeks. Emma comes down with a fever and respiratory virus.
  • Three weeks ago, Nik was sick with a fever and respiratory virus (on top of the mono). Kai and Emma are recovered at this point.
  • Two weeks ago, Nik is mostly over the virus and asymptomatic on the mono. Kai comes down with another fever and vomiting and respiratory virus.
  • Last week, Kai is over the virus again. Emma comes down with a fever and respiratory virus.
  • Last Sunday, Emma is well. Kai is well. Nik is well. I come down with a 104F fever and respiratory virus.
  • Today, I think I am finally getting better. All kids are still well. Perhaps the cycle has run its course? One can only hope.
Needless to say, this has made packing less than fun. I was so tired on Sunday night that I went to bed at 8:00 pm and didn't get up until 8:00 am. I can't even remember the last time I slept that long.

3. KNITTING: Progress has been stalled on the urchin shawl since Sunday (see #2 above.) I am now 9 rows behind my schedule. I'm trying very hard not to be too disappointed in myself for probably not finishing this in time for the Fair.

4. CROCHETING: The daffodil filet piece needs to be re-blocked. When I unpinned it from the blocking board, I put it down on the ironing board. Unfortunately, the ironing board was still slightly damp from steam pressing another project. This caused the filet piece to unblock a bit and shrink unevenly as it drank up some moisture. I thought I could live with it, but it turns out I can't. Back to the pins I go.

I'll be so glad when this week is over and the packing and moving are done.