a tribute to Gladys

new car!

On Friday I said goodbye to a good friend: my 1993 Buick Century. I bought this car right after graduating from college. It had about 60,000 miles on it and not a spot of rust. For about 6 years she did almost everything I asked of her. As far as I can remember, she never abandoned me. The muffler was a constant problem though. In fact, I remember sitting in the muffler repair shop knitting the garter for my wedding in 2009. She got me to my first job after college and every one since. When I started traveling to shows, I crammed as much fiber in there as possible. It was hard to believe how much stuff I could get in there, but those old cars had BIG trunks!

In the end I knew time was running short. Things were going wrong, leaks were appearing, the transmission lines were rotting… but the car was still running, so it was hard to say goodbye. I’ll always think on you fondly, Gladys!


Of course I’d been pondering her replacement for some time. I knew it needed to have more storage, or at least be easier to load. Plus I wanted something that could tow. I had been looking at various SUVs, though in the end I found a Victory Red 2008 Chevy HHR. It was a lot newer and fancier than I had hoped to find, so I am pleased. Now it is time to make new memories with Ruth!

This is coming home with me tomorrow. #newcar #hhr #Chevy #booya

home from Yarn School

Disclaimer: I’m going to be honest about my experience and I don’t see any reason not to be. If someone doesn’t like what I have to say, that’s okay. They don’t have to agree. I know things are going to be as they are regardless of how I feel about it. This is simply my personal take on the weekend and I am allowed to have my own opinion.

I can’t say exactly what I had anticipated, although I know I was trying to keep my expectations low so I wouldn’t be disappointed. Unfortunately it was more that they were wrong altogether. In retrospect, I can say that Yarn “School” is more of a retreat rather than a focused learning opportunity. While there was some instruction given, there was a lot more sitting around and chatting. If that is something you enjoy, then you’d probably love this event. However, I had hoped to gain new insight into something about which I already know the basics (and am bored with). We were shown how to do long draw and beehives/coils, so that was helpful. Also, I picked up a few tips for using my drumcarder and tried different techniques for dyeing. I was able to spin on several wheels, some of which I had considered buying and now know that I don’t want. Everyone was extremely friendly and the food was fantastic. However, much to my body’s dismay, we did not eat at its usual times. Dinner was usually served between 9 and 10 pm, so I spent the entire weekend in digestive distress. The accommodations were pleasantly comical — the dorms were old school classrooms. There were many wonderful vintage decor items to look at, especially in the dining room. I appreciated the time away from home, out of my usual routine. And now I know I can travel solo without having a complete meltdown.

Overall I can say that it was a positive experience, although not what I wanted it to be. It is unlikely that I would return, partly because there are many other places to explore and partly because it just isn’t the way I like to spend my time. Honestly, I don’t need to fly halfway across the country to sit and spin. I can do that at home. Perhaps I missed something? I missed the point of it all? It doesn’t match with my need for structure, instruction, and constant activity. I tried to keep myself available and ready any time there was a chance to learn something, but it just didn’t happen that often. If you were totally new to spinning it would have been a great chance to have everything handed to you at once, but for the seasoned spinner, you were on your own much of the time.

Also, it made me realize that I like living in my crummy small town where I am somewhat special rather than being one out of many who all do the same thing. Upon returning I do have a feeling of “let’s get down to business”. Not sure I can go as far as to say “re-energized” or even “inspired”, but I do feel like I want to get more focused. I had to leave my wheel at home, which made me sad, so I am now ready to sit down and get some yarn spun. I know I should be glad for this opportunity, but I’m still slightly disappointed.

Didn’t get many photos taken. Just three in fact.

I spent a lot of the early morning alone. I’d get up between 6 and 6:30, have a nice breakfast (alone) and then go upstairs to the quiet gym where the wheels were waiting. As the weekend went on everyone’s fiber crept farther out from their seat.

empty room
My neighbor had brought her Schacht Ladybug and thankfully let me use it. Very smooth wheel! When I was looking into a new wheel, I had considered this one. However, the Kromski Sonata won out. I think I would’ve been happy with this as well though.


Everyone had the chance to dye two pounds of fiber. Each pancake is 8 ounces and a different breed. Can’t remember which is which right now, but they had Falkland, Polworth, Romney, and a wool blend. The one at the bottom left was done in plastic wrap, so the colors stayed just where I put them. I am going to chain ply that sucker for sure!

dyed at yarn school

a misadventure in newark

It appears I have a bit of a saga to share.

Rachel, my indispensable, confident, and awesomely optimistic companion told me about something she and her friends used to do called “PMI” which stands for plus/minus/interesting. After a vacation or outing, they would categorize all the things that happened as either a plus, a minus, or simply interesting. I think that sounds like the perfect way to tell our tale. Remember when I said I was nervous about going? Apparently that apprehension was warranted.


  • Packing and unpacking the station wagon was so much easier than my sedan.
  • When I slammed on the breaks and a box of Eucalan came flying up from the back of the car and all the bottles shot out, we didn’t crash.
  • We were only 20 minutes from our destination when the car broke down.
  • We found out the fuel gauge was malfunctioning before we ran out of gas.
  • When the car died we managed to make it to a pull-off along the side of the road.
  • The state trooper didn’t find anything on me when he ran my driver’s license.
  • We didn’t hit the deer that ran across the road in front of us on the way home.
  • Gorgeous scenery and gorgeous weather.
  • I ate ribs for dinner on Saturday night.
  • We spent an hour roaming around Michaels coming up with ideas.
  • A woman bought an afghan’s worth of handspun yarn. I told her to send me pictures.


  • The fuel pump died and left us stranded on the side of the road.
  • The Econolodge wasn’t stellar.
  • I found a cigarette hole in the comforter on my bed.
  • The motel’s  “breakfast” at the motel was basically a few crusty pastries.
  • We didn’t realize the show was over on Saturday because there was no one there.
  • I had a total of three sales on Sunday.
  • I basically covered my expenses and that was about it.
  • I came home with a cold.
  • The GPS thought the “fastest” way home would be to drive 45 mph through a bunch of little towns.


  • The driveway I pulled into to repack the Eucalan that went sprawling through the car looked deserted, but no, the resident appeared immediately upon my stopping. He was able to drive behind me.
  • While we were pulled over, two guys stopped to see if we needed help. One loitered awkwardly, but he didn’t murder us.
  • We had some very informative conversations with the young woman at the garage while the car was getting fixed.
  • Explaining to everyone that Rachel was from Pittsburgh, I was from Youngstown, we were driving my parents’ car and we were going to a fiber show.
  • We saw the giant basket/office building where Longaberger headquarters is located.

So, I suppose it’s all in the way you think about things. I thought the car problems were an emergency, but Rachel determined it was merely a challenge. So, regardless of the setbacks, we had a great weekend together. And then yesterday we went to the outlets and bought bras. That would be considered a total success!

mid-ohio fiber fair

I can officially announce my presence at the Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair! It was a last minute decision, but I squeaked in just at the end before all the spaces were full. This is the second year for this event and I can’t say much about it — I didn’t go last year! It’s going to be an adventure for a few reasons. First, it’s the weekend following Pennsic. Second, it’s the farthest event I’ve attended. Third, I have an odd-shaped space (4×12). Anyway, it’s on my list now.

Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair
August 18-19, 2012
The Reese Center
1209 University Drive
Newark, Ohio  43055

Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
General Admission $3.00

first show of the season!

We’re starting off the year with a bang here at Gwen Erin Natural Fibers. My first show of the year is the 8th Annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival held at the Four Points Sheraton in Mars, PA. 

This is my second year setting up at this event. This year I will be in a double booth, #45-46, with Cosy (Cosy Knits literally) and Maggie (Burgh Baby Gear). We’re quite excited and hope to see you there. If you come, don’t forget to stop in and say hello.

So clear your calendar!
February 10, 11, & 12, 2012
Four Points Sheraton North
910 Sheraton Drive
Mars, PA 16046

Friday – Market open from 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm ** This is new!
Saturday – Market open from 9 am to 5 pm
Sunday – Market open from 9 am to 4 pm