Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Elizabeth Mahina @ Big Buddha Hafla

Sometimes it's good to watch yourself perform. I was afraid to this time because I got a huge foot cramp early in the dance (from standing around in heels waiting to go on without foot stretching) and I was certain my dance was really bad. But it wasn't so I feel better now. It's nothing earth shattering just me & a little song.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Help

I finally went to see The Help last night. It was a really entertaining movie, good engaging story, well acted and all that. And it's generally agreed that the people who went through the civil rights movement of the 1960's did many great and brave things to improve the lives of everyone.

I can't help but bringing my thoughts back to the struggles we are going through NOW in 2011. More and more people are loosing jobs every day, the actual unemployment rate is much higher than the official numbers say, in my county alone it's 10% officially, in reality if you count everyone who is underemployed, has given up, or has fallen out of the system it would be more like 20%. That means 1 in every 5! Teachers & firemen in Wisconsin -in fact all over the country are loosing the rights to collectively bargain for their benefits and salaries that were gained by the sacrifices of brave union workers in the early part of the 20th century. I'd like to see another movie about that, how people gained the right to a 40 hour work week & ended child labor. These days people have made student loans for unbelievable amounts of money only so that they could get jobs that don't exist -I speak from personal experience on this one, I have 2 children with beautiful college educations, massive loans, and no jobs. One even attended an Ivy League school, a sure guaranty of a job right? Wrong. What can he do? Go to more school, hopefully get a job in one of the only professions in this country where people actually work, the law.

What is really going on here? The struggle has become colorless, the struggle has become one of the wealthy against everyone else. The tea party is trying to fool everyone, they don't represent the common man who they say will loose from high taxes, they represent the wealthy. The corporations and the rich will continue to get unfair tax cuts. They have paid less and less taxes every year since the Reagan administration and while the poor and the middle classes have gone into debt and work more and more jobs (which no longer exist) just to make ends meet. Just to pay their children's medical bills & educations- which by the way are the only debts that cannot be wiped away by bankruptcy...it's true, if you are bankrupt you still have to pay those enormous medical bills and unrealistic student loans (just so you know, it costs $40,000 a year to go to both Art Center & Columbia University, ask me how I know). And bankruptcy has become nearly impossible, for the middle class to file any more...another safety net removed by the Bush administration. That's right if your child gets cancer and you have thousands of dollars in medical bills you might as well just give away your house and live on the street. I'm sorry to say the bill collectors will probably still find you sitting on your box in the parking lot while you panhandle.

What is going on here?

Pardon me while I shout....THE HELP NEEDS A JOB!!!!

We need to be focusing on creating jobs, not cutting more through budget cuts. We need to be taxing and regulating those who can afford it best, the wealthy & the corporations. I would like to see Obama give a real helping hand to the American people not just the banks. I would like to see congress step up and do the same. I would like to see those who are supposed to work for the people really do their jobs and be brave.

And I'm going to suggest this to people who really want to learn some interesting things from a news network that doesn't benefit from any corporate money and was the original public radio. It's been around since the 1940's, it's called Pacifica, in my area I listen to 90.7 KPFK but you can listen all over the world streaming live online...

Friday, August 26, 2011

School started - the house is quiet

Why does school start so early? It is still summer, and the last 2 days have been the hottest we've had so far. It doesn't seem right to me, we should have been at the beach. Ok well we weren't, the house is quiet from 8-2:45 so I can get a lot of work done.
Like carding batts:

And then spinning them

Doing a breed study of raw Shetland wool washed-carded-spun-washed again.
And a bit of garden clean up

Saturday, August 20, 2011

She'enedra performs at Zulu Lounge

I think I forgot to post this performance from Zulu Lounge with Rachel Brice in June 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Catch up quick!

I suppose everyone goes through these times where they just have to catch up on all their unfinished projects. After all life is just that way isn't it? You get inspired, you start something, you have to cook dinner, or tend to someone's tea or band aids and then you forget what you were doing and start doing something else. Well my life is like that anyway. I also get distracted as a spinner by all these small amounts of special fibers people sell. Usually I think in big terms like spinning for a sweater or a blanket, but a few years ago everyone and her sister got a drum carder and started selling these tempting textural bits of fluff known as batts. So naturally I started stock piling those, and since they are in small amounts you never have enough to really do a project! Ha on me! Anyway it all just adds to my problem of the short attention span I have.

So right now I'm on a self imposed time out from buying stuff until I do something with a good portion of the stuff I already have. Laugh it's ok I'm laughing...I just have to try to control this every once in a while.

During TDF (Tour de Fleece- a thing people do on Ravelry where you spin spinning wheels instead of bicycle wheels during the Tour de France) I had set a goal for myself to finish the purple Polworth that I bought at SOAR 2 years ago that is destined to become a knitted dress. Well I did it! Not during TDF but at least soon afterwards! yay! See?
I should count the yardage...there is a lot and it's sport weight and also very soft. I was inspired by a dress I saw Sara Swett had at SOAR. She is very inspiring to me.

I'm also emptying bobbins because that is sure sign of unfinished projects...this turquoise one is almost empty...
Part of it went into a silly textural yarn & a beaded yarn...now I'm spinning up some white mohair to ply with the remainder. It will all go into some scarves that I'll take to the art gallery for sale.
I did a small skein of some tail spun yarn in pink...it was just therapy really no larger goals.And also emptied a purple bobbing by plying with some simple white wool.
And Riley and I are dyeing wool to make our own batts.

While the world's naughtiest cattin (that is a kitten too small yet to be called a cat)-Mittens- makes trouble while we work.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Last week

In my next life I hope to live in Santa Barbara, or this one if I get really super lucky.

Since last monday was my birthday and because I am pure LEO we had lots of celebrating (we believe in good parties)...I figure it's one of the perks of getting older! On Sunday we took a lovely day trip to Santa Barbara...

...which included a stop at Loop & Leaf a yarn & tea shop. If you are in Santa Barbara you must visit this place it is very charming and friendly Loop & Leaf - fine yarn and tea I got some Habu textiles yarns for a tunic and Frog tree Alpaca for a pair of fingerless gloves. Yeah I know I don't need any more yarn...but it was my birthday!

Afterwards in true Souza style we arrived at the Botanical Gardens too late to make a stroll through it worthwhile so we altered the plan and went to the park where they have turtles, ducks & the most amazing play structure in the world...really.
We enjoyed a little snack & some lovely grappa for the grown ups and juice squeeze for the kid.
After this we went to Sojourner for dinner, a wonderful place with lots of vegetarian & organics eats & drinks. But first my husband was eaten by a shark.
Since we missed the Botanical Garden on Sunday Jillian, Riley & I went there during the week instead. It is beautiful see...

Riley found some fairy houses! And there must be a 4 leafed clover in here somewhere...
A secret spiral
It's strong Jillian!
Public service announcement!! The above plant is Poison Oak! Don't touch it if you don't like to get all itchy and puffed up for days and days.
And since a post by me is not complete without fiber & bellydance I have to tell you that at the Bellydancers Knitting group the girls threw a little party for me see...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

County Fair 2011

Every year my guild the Ventura County Handweavers & Spinners Guild gets very involved in the county fair...
The general public is very interested in what we do and lots of people stop to watch & ask questions. Riley came along with her spinning wheel this year and enjoyed telling people all about the process of spinning.

On the first Friday of the fair we get together and make a shawl from start to finish. Maybe it's a little bit of cheating because the weaver had already warped her loom with handspun, and the fiber was all dyed up for us.

So 12 carders, spinners, & pliers prepared the yarn for one weaver.

But still it's a pretty amazing feat to get all the carding, spinning & weaving done in one work day. Here is the finished shawl it was auctioned off at the Cattlemen's dinner for $320 the money goes to charity.
We took a little break so Riley could ride a pony. She is almost too big for this : (

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beats Antique - Revival (Official Video)

I really love this video that Beats Antique did, such lovely images.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Wool Delivery!

Although there are many many lovely pre-dyed & prepared fleeces available nowadays I have always preferred spinning from raw fleeces. Not completely in the grease (raw-no washing) mind you but hand washed & carded (by hand or drum carder) or combed by me. I love it because I'm practical. I like to make things with my fiber and in order to make really useful things like sweaters & blankets you need a LOT of wool! So this is the most practical way for me to get the yarns I want. I also enjoy the way a less processed fiber feels in my hands when I spin it. Not slippery like much of that fancy combed top you see everywhere but something with texture in it.
So I sent out 10 lbs of raw wool to Aunt Janet's fiber mill in Northern California on the recommendation of my friend Susie.
Last year at the Ventura County Fair I bought a corriedale fleece from a shepherd at a sale price because it was already a year old. I was so frustrated trying to clean and prepare this fleece and it made the lumpiest ugliest yarn there ever was. So I decided to try to save it by sending it out and see if a professional could improve it. It was either that or become doll stuffing.

Professional processing definitely did the trick. I even used the drop spindle and made a little sample 3 ply to see how it looks. Me thinks this will make some very nice socks. Maybe I'll dye it and sell the extra.
Above you see some stunning Romney that I bought from Skylines farms. They have organically fed happy sheep that produce the most lustrous fiber you can imagine. I love her fleeces even when I clean them myself, I like them better cleaned by someone else. This will go into that blanket that I'm dyeing with Indigo.
And here you see some other random fiber that was in my fiber collection waiting for attention...