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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Monday, October 29, 2007

National Folk Festival

The National Folk Festival was a blast! They had record breaking crowds of 175K, loads of music, festival food and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program.

Jon Lohman is the director of the Apprenticeship Program and Linda Wright was my apprentice; we spent many enjoyable hours elbows deep in fiber either skirting fleeces, carding, spinning and other activities. I only hope Linda enjoyed herself as much as I; it's a memory that will last a lifetime.
Leslie Shelor, Diana Blackburn and Mary Lois Mitchum , left to right, were at the reception for the Apprenticeship Program and In Good Keeping, Jon's book on the program.
Although, these lovely ladies are part of the Apprenticeship Program, I don't know them. I do, however, LOVE the serene, gracious look about them!

I spun about two pounds of single ply "Unserious Rainbow Yarn" whilst at the festival. It's going to make a Very Unserious Scarf ~

and came home to more summer that, eventually, turned to autumn.

This "tree" is actually poison ivy, apparently, on steriods! Every year it grows just a bit larger and becomes just a bit more menacing.

When leaving Thistle Cove Farm through Thompson Valley, there's a stretch of road that's usually beautiful. At this time of year, it's breathtaking and always I slow down so the image will burn into my memory.

Blessings - autumn and harvest ~ 2.25 inches of RAIN ~ meaningful work ~ prayer ~ God's bountiful beauty ~ all the Good Folks who made the National Folk Festival 2007 such a GREAT time! ~

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ethnic Knitting

The Talmud tells us, "You are not obligated to complete the work but neither are you free to abandon it."

What, you ask, does this have to do with anything?

The answer...everything! We're all but steps in a path leading from Eve, or Lucy if you will, and going into infinity. Every day, we, all of us, choose to be helpful or hurtful, kind or unkind, a giver or a taker, a friend or a foe. I tell people all the time that fiber folkes are the Best People in the world and I mean it. I can count on one hand the fiber people I've met who were surly or contentious or just ill tempered. To a person, most are gracious to a fault, willing to share their expertise and experiences, willing to take the time to be kind.

Donna Druchunas is no exception.

She has a new book entitled Discovery - Ethnic Knitting from the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and The Andes from Nomad Press. She has two previous books, including one of my all time favorites, The Knitted Rug: 21 Fantastic Designs and her most recent Arctic Lace: Knitted projects and Stories Inspired by Alaska's Native Knitters.

Donnas has long been, since The Knitted Rug, one of my favorite designers and bloggers. I enjoy reading about her travels, her patterns are clear and well designed and I always end up learning something...if not a lot of somethings!

The current back cover photo shows Donna, seated, with what looks to be size 50 knitting needles in hand, busily working on another project. She looks like a person who, while not taking herself very seriously, takes her work Very Seriously. IOW, my kind of Fiber Femme.

Ethnic Knitting has eight master patterns for drop-shoulder pullover sweaters but begins with four simply projects to build the skills necessary to accomplish the master patterns. She uses quick notes, a visual plan or detailed guidelines in worksheets designed to assist knitters to not only knit a sweater but learn how to craft one in the process.

For the sample sweaters she explains how the same designed 40-inch sweater will fit (very close) as opposed to a 34-36 inch sweater (loose fit). I find this quite helpful, ever more so than leaving out the additional guidelines.

All this to say...Donna is a guest blogger for Fiber Femmes on Monday, October 22 and Leslie and I are excited! I've long enjoyed Donna's work as well as "meeting" her the last time she was a Fiber Femme guest blogger.

Donna is a continuing thread in the life line of knitting. She realizes she's yet another knitter to continue, or assist in continuing, the age old craft of knitting. There are as many ways to knit as there are cultures in the world and I'm grateful to Donna for bringing more of them to light.

I hope you enjoy her as well and, after buying her book, discover for yourself the pleasures of Ethnic Knitting.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Catching up

It's been a hot summer and autumn; no sign of relief in sight and we're still in a drought situation. We did have a bit of rain last week but could use a week of steady, constant rain. Pray God it will soon happen.

I went to the Field Day of the Past Festival and had a rollicking good time. They were lots of visitors but sales were unfortunate; the only thing selling was cold drinks and ice cream. It's always difficult for folks to consider woollens when the temps say nekkid. This was the first event I've used my 10x10 canopy and it provided welcome shade. Never again will I do a festival without shelter.I took time out to ride around the 50 acre grounds and sightsee. A gentleman sitting nearby asked, "do you ever have your photograph taken or are you always working?" I smiled and answered, "always working." He then asked for my camera and took this photo of me. I look quite the period, don't I, and my Grandmother's cameo pin adds an authentic touch.
Funny how people, men especially, would compliment me on my "costume". They seemed to think by-gone days means better days but hardly anyone realizes the main cause of female death was first by fire and secondly by childbirth. Women's dresses would burn when women got to close to the fire when cooking and, as dresses were, usually, cotton or linen, they would ignite and flame in mere moments.

Dave asked me one time, "when are you going to start making all our clothing?" My response, "just as soon as you start killing all our food."

Yep, we both laughed...let me tell you...the good old days are NOW! I seriously enjoy dressing up and playing "pioneer woman" but wouldn't trade even. I'm living the good life now and thank God every day. I met one dear, older woman who spent UNTOLD hours making this very beautiful queen sized Garden Path quilt. She's eighty-four and would like to sell this quilt; if anyone is interested, please let me know and I'll put you in touch.

Kat, my quilting guild friend, made the gorgeous Double Wedding Ring queen size quilt show below. She's selling this quilt which represents, perhaps, a thousand hours of work, maybe more. People see the price of quilts and think, "too much!" but how many people would work for $1 an hour? At least in the good ole USA.

This Turning Twenty quilt pattern in a double bed size, is for sale as well. Katherine and Donna worked together to make this quilt and it's made in a pleasing design of blues and yellows.

This coming weekend I'm headed to the National Folk Festival in Richmond, VA. I'm there as a guest of the Folklife Apprenticeship Program through the VA Humanities Foundation and will demonstrate spinning, knitting and the fiber arts. The Folk Festival is always a Very Fine Time and this is the third and final year in Richmond. Next year it will move somewhere else but, I understand, folks in Richmond have plans to host their own folk festival so it will continue.

Jon Lohman, Director of the Folklife Apprenticeship Program, has written In Good Keeping: Virginia's Folklife Apprenticeships with free lance photographer Morgan Miller. This coffee table sized book, published by the UVA Press showcases the first five years of the program and is resplendent with marvelous photographs of the various Masters and Apprentices.

On the home front...even though we've yet to see much cooler weather, the Canada Geese know it's time to move on. There are great flocks of them, wheeling across the sky, honking to each other and to those of us land bound below. Winter is coming and with it, hopefully, some moisture. I'm preparing to hunker down, as Daddy likes to say, and complete my preparations for winter. My winter projects are quilting, both for warmth and for art; working in my studio on a great new project I'm developing; making lots of comfort foods in the form of soups, stews and breads; finish reading the Bible. I try to read the Bible through every year and every year I learn something new and find it always a joy. Well, okay. Maybe those Old Testament geneology parts aren't a *total* joy but they are still interesting...sort of.
Blessings ~ family, always family ~ crisp Autumn days ~ festivals & the Folklife Apprenticeship Program & Jon ~ quilting ~ the good old days of NOW~ the strength to do the work He has set before us ~
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