Whew, What a Day/week- 12/8/2019

Currently, our lives aren’t our own, we have some control over scheduling, some, not total. I don’t even want to count the days we have been in doctor’s offices, physical therapy offices, and hearing clinic offices in the past 5 weeks. The only positive side of it was lots of time to knit for the holiday craft season. That is a double edged sword in itself. I have years when knits sell, then have years when not a single knit item is sold at the events, so there needs to be a balance, not too much inventory because I pay personal property tax on unsold inventory. Don’t get me started on that, you pay tax on the purchase of the fiber to spin or the yarn to knit, then personal property tax on the inventory in stock at the time of reporting to the county, then I pay state sales tax on anything I sell. And if the item sells through the on line shop or the buyer uses plastic to pay for it, there are fees. Then my time, etc. and people wonder why a handmade knit or woven item is expensive. Anyway, back to the week. Various appointments, mid week was my spinning group’s holiday party and the hostess has loaned me a small loom for the Elementary School Colonial Christmas event on the 20th, but I couldn’t remember all the steps for warping the loom. The day after the holiday party, she had several of us over to teach a new weaver, refresh two of us, and demonstrate to another who hasn’t fallen into that rabbit hole yet. That was two full afternoons last week.

Friday was cold and rainy, but the car had to be loaded for the first Farmers Market Holiday market event. The holiday markets are outdoors, so in addition to tables, racks, and inventory, I have to fit in the 10 foot pop-up shelter and the 4 weights to hold it in place if it gets windy. All this has to go into my little 14 year old CRV. Since I had to leave home around 7:15 Saturday morning to get there and unload, it couldn’t wait until morning. And since that event was followed last evening by the first Christmas Bazaar at Wilderness Road Regional Museum, I had to make sure I had everything I needed for that, but my spinning wheel wouldn’t fit.

The holiday market was terrific, beautiful weather, so many vendors, so much foot traffic.

Well, yesterday was a buy knits event, so the inventory is significantly reduced. There are still a few shawls, hats, mitts and mittens, and the sweater in the above photo left, but far fewer than I started with yesterday. That event ends at 2 p.m. and the vendors in the parking lot have to break down and get out quickly so the vendors under the shelter roof can break down and get out. I was headed home by 2:20 to unload the tent, weights, and mannequins, quickly change into Colonial clothes, grab my spinning wheel and fiber basket, give hubby a quick kiss and update, and leave to be at Wilderness Road Regional Museum Noel Nights by a bit after 4 (it is almost an hour from home).

Photo credit Wilderness Road Regional Museum/April Martin

The evening there was great too, some soaps sold, time to visit with some of my “Colonial” friends, and demonstrate spinning in the old German barn. Just look at those floor planks.

I left at 7:15 a.m. and returned home at 8:15 p.m. yesterday. At least I didn’t have to pack up from the Christmas Bazaar as we will repeat tonight with different musicians in the Museum, more savory and sweet snacks, more Wassail and hot tea to enjoy, then a pack up and stow away until a repeat next weekend of both events. I hope for similar weather, but the forecast has flipped between cold rain, freezing rain, and snow. I am hopeful that it will shift away from Saturday.

The rest of the upcoming week’s schedule is still packed. I am trying to decide whether to put down the fingerless mitts/convertible mittens that I am making for myself to see if I can add to my stock this week, or just go with the flow and hope that I start the new year with very limited inventory to report. I am certainly leaning in that direction.

Fun With Friends – 12/5/2019

I belong to a spinning group that meets once a week during the day and has an offshoot (maybe the original group) that meets once a month at night. The group is called the Spunsters, nice play on a term. We are mostly gals, but not entirely. The daytime group are mostly retired women, but a few that still work outside the home that come when their job allows. This group is very generous with their knowledge and often their equipment as well. I had recently taken up spinning with a drop spindle when I discovered them, then using the Community Room at the local library. Eventually, the library started preempting us, often at the last minute, so we relocated, finally landing at the Recreation Center. A couple of times each year, one member who has a lovely, large home that is centrally located holds a social event where we bring snacks, she furnishes beverages, and we have sale and free tables and at the holidays, we have a Dirty Santa exchange. The gift must be of fiber or fiber related theme. Last year the event was just after mid December and we had just had a snow and ice event a few days prior, so her driveway was a bit treacherous for some of the gals. She decided to try to beat the bad weather this year and we held the party today.

There are a lot of food allergies in my group of friends, and I often try to make something that is gluten free, dairy free, and nut free. This year I didn’t. I love shortbread, but didn’t want to make plain shortbread. I made the recipe, added Almond extract, topped it with a thin layer of melted Giradelli dark chocolate, and sprinkled crushed Heath Bars on top. I did put an allergy list on it, but still half of it was consumed.

Half the fun of the Dirty Santa game is to have folks that don’t just pick a wrapped gift from under the tree, but peruse the already opened gifts and select from one of them. Most of this group are reticent to do that, but a few of us will. One gal couldn’t stay for the entire Santa part so she didn’t participate in it, and as she was leaving, the hostess told everyone to wish her goodbye and quickly grabbed an opened gift. Lots of laughs and exaggerated perturbation over having their gift taken. Sometimes they go get a different wrapped item, sometimes they will take another open gift. There were lots of very nice gifts today, fiber, yarn, notions, and books. I took an opened gift and it was taken from me. I took another opened gift and came home with this.

I also came home with a fringe twister and a Mayan spinner that will be added to my spinning equipment that goes to teaching events. The fringe twister was the result of my asking for knowledge assistance as I spent hours untying knotted fringe on a shawl and hand twisting the fringe into a more finished twisted fringe. The Mayan spinner a gift to add to my demonstration tools.

On December 20, I will be a Colonial spinner for the 4th graders at a local elementary school as they conclude their unit on Colonial history. One of my Spunster friends is going to loan me a small loom and help me get it warped so that I can have it set up and demonstrate it that day too. It will be a fun day of demonstrating how labor intensive having clothing and household linens was in Colonial times.

I don’t get to this group weekly, but enjoy when I have the opportunity and appreciate the generosity of these spinners of their time, expertise, and loan of equipment.

Gifts- 12/3/2019

A plan is finally in place and not too stressful, I hope. With lots of doctor’s appointments, PT, and hearing clinic appointments between us, we seem to be spending lots of time in waiting room which affords me knitting time. Yesterday, daughter needed help with a sick child so she could go to work, so more knitting time. During hubby’s TV time is even more knitting time. The amount of it though is causing some joint pain with the cold raw weather. I have taken to wearing lots of wool layers from skin out to keep warm.

Hubby needed a new chair as “the Chair II” had failed, and then his laptop crashed so we ordered a new chair and he ended up with a business grade refurbished computer from the computer repair shop. He will only get a stocking stuffed. Child #2 provided a few wishes and wants experiences for her kids rather than more toys. Doable. Child #3’s family is taken care of. Child #1’s family is partially taken care of, that one is still in progress.

This weekend begins 3 weekends of craft events and hopefully, folks will buy my goods as gifts for their families and I will go into the new year low on stock which will make my personal property tax lower next year.

Time to get back to knitting.