Rituals and Knowledge…

1 Hashbrown

2 Scrambled Eggs with melted American Cheese served on Pepperidge Farm Fish shaped Deli-thins

8 ounces of fruit smoothie (plain yogurt/1 banana/half an apple/pomegranate juice/frozen blueberries, raspberries, and dark cherries)

I’ve made the above breakfast for my high school age daughter every school day I have not been on the road for more than two years now.  It is a routine I can do with my eyes closed.  I wake up at 6:20am, hit the snooze button twice, wander down to the kitchen with the dog hot on my trail.  I put food in his bowl, change his water, empty the dishwasher, and start on my daughter’s breakfast.  A couple of years ago, her grades were slipping, and she was starting to stay up too late to be able to get up and function for school in the morning, and we came to an agreement.  If I got up and made her breakfast, she had to get up and eat it.  If I threw it away just once, then I wouldn’t do it again.  She never missed.  And her grades came back up to where they should be and all was well.

This morning was my last breakfast.  She has finished school.  Tomorrow is graduation practice, but she doesn’t have to be at school by 7:15am.  Graduation is Friday.  I volunteered to help with the senior send-off breakfast, but it is not the same thing.  So today I’m sort of sad, my last breakfast for her in this context.  My morning ritual that got her motivated to get up and start the day well, is finished.  I’ll have to find a new ritual to get me up and out of bed in the morning.

Meanwhile, there isn’t very much exciting happening in the studio at the moment, I’ve spent the last three days printing and binding monographs to ship up to Midwest Conference.  I loathe this job, I’ve tried to get some of the extraneous bodies that reside in my house to help, but alas, no one else likes this job either.  But the monographs generate additional income, and they are pretty important when I’m giving a three hour technical lecture and no one wants to take notes for that length of time.  They are printed right off the PowerPoint presentation so students have all the information right in front of them.  It makes my job so much easier and I can stay focused and on track.

I love conferences.  I rarely attend one just for my own benefit, I’m usually teaching as many time slots as they can assign me, after all this is my job, but conferences, unlike when I teach for a guild, are full of bytes of knowledge flying all around the hotel/college campus, especially when everyone eats together in dining halls.  I sometimes sit with friends I know I can be comfortable with, who don’t expect me to “be on stage”, and sometimes I sit with complete strangers, and sometimes I find a table full of other teachers.  Some I know well, some I’ve never met.  Since all kinds of fiber techniques are represented, the table conversation can be fascinating.

I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time Janis Thompson, who was teaching spinning/knitting classes at ANWG a couple weeks ago. Instant adore.  We sat next to each other at the table, and I listened to her chatting about how students don’t know how to use the various settings on their wheel, and how to move their drivebands to smaller whorls.  I was following the conversation but mentioned that I didn’t have those options, I have the traditional Ashford spinning wheel I bought in kit form from New Zealand in 1974.  It’s a basic wheel, with no frills, and I adore it and I think I can do anything I want with it but truth be told, I sort of spin everything the same thickness and twist.

Someone else suggested that it was time to dump my wheel and buy something new.  Someone else said she did let her Ashford Traditional go and was really really sorry.  I hear that sentiment a lot about sewing machines.  You can just imagine…

Janis turned to me and asked why I didn’t just get a new flyer?  I said in shock,  “I can buy a new flyer for my Ashford Traditional from 1974?”  Janis assured me I could, it had three positions, and I would be amazed at what it could do.  It came in the mail yesterday and I immediately installed it.  I haven’t tried the other whorls (and I’m not even sure that’s the proper word) but I know I have options now that I didn’t have before…  Knowledge is a wonderful thing…

I finally broke down and bought my own marudai.  That’s a Japanese Braiding stand.  Shirley Berlin, my favorite braid vendor from Canada was at the ANWG conference and had some beautiful marudais, so I don’t have to borrow one from my guild members anymore.  I even had the weights and a band in progress, just no marudai.  Though I always teach braiding on a foam disk, the motions and “dance” on a marudai are beautiful and gentle, and I’m glad to have my own.


I found out from Pat Sparks, a wonderful felter and one of the teachers at the ANWG conference, that no one uses fiberglass screening for felting anymore, too dangerous to be rubbing fiberglass.  Duh…  Everyone now uses the olive drab mosquito netting.  That arrived a couple days ago.  Knowledge is a wonderful thing especially when fiberglass isn’t…

Last week I took my daughter to UMass Amherst for her freshman orientation.  I sat in a conference hall for two days listening to lectures designed to educate parents on what to expect for their children, what they are getting for their money,  and let them know of all the resources available.  I did what any self respecting fiber enthusiast did, I sat and knit a sock while watching all the presentations…  Knowledge is a wonderful thing especially when you can knit a sock and listen at the same time…


While I was at UMass, I skipped out after dinner one of the nights and headed down to Northhampton to WEBS, just 10 miles down the road.  I clocked it.  They were open late on Thursday night.  It was great to just wander the aisles, and see what I never think to look for online.  I found a package of Wensleydale sliver, that’s the sheep breed Pat Sparks uses to make her lace felt, and I found some cool sock yarn, since I’m almost half way on the second sock I’ve been knitting.  And I found buried in a cubby, the treadle hooks for Leclerc looms, that are almost identical to the ones found on my Tools of the Trade looms from the 1970-80’s.  Who knew?  The 36″ 8 shaft TOTT loom I acquired last year was missing two of the hooks.  They rigged something up, but it wasn’t the same.  I bought a package of 10, and now I have extra.  Knowledge is great when you find out loom parts are available…

And lastly, my lovely almost high school graduate Brianna came skipping downstairs last night, (she was suppose to be cramming for an AP English final exam), and proudly showed all of us her latest handwork.  She found a crochet pattern online for Pi.  Yep, that Pi.  3.142   OK, so I want to know what makes a person think, gee, I’ll Google to see if there are any crochet patterns for Pi.  Well she found one and she crocheted one up, and stuffed it with fiber fill and had a Pi soft sculpture.  I am so going to miss this amazing child in the fall, I’m going to miss getting up early and starting my day with her, I’m going to miss making her smoothies, and I’m going to miss her zany handwork, soft sculptures, duct tape projects, and her zest for life as she goes off in search of her own knowledge.

Stay tuned…

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Sandra Rude
Sandra Rude
June 15, 2011 8:42 pm

that’s a very healthy breakfast – you could always continue making it, and consume it yourself… The crochet Pi is uber-cool.

June 15, 2011 11:54 pm

I remember sitting through presentations at my son’s orientation at UC Santa Barbara…also knitting a sock! The presenter was a graduate student – about age 24- trying to prepare us for sending our kids away to Uni! Like he had any idea!!! I got a little teary – but the sock was superwash wool so that was ok.

Now he’s got his MA and is moving to your side of the country; if you see him, say hi. (getting teary again)

Nancy JC
June 16, 2011 5:01 am

Daryl, I so-o-o-o wish I could be at Midwest this summer, and alas! by the time I finalized my plan to go, the class I most wanted to be in was full. So you’ll have to say ‘Hi’ to da UP for me. The line-up there this summer is great. We’ll miss you at MLH. BTW, life has turned around s-l-o-w-l-y. Your Brianna Breakfast sounds delish! and yes, you could continue it for yourself, but you know, you already have something that is enough to make you want to jump out of bed every morning—weaving! (Or I could send you… Read more »

June 16, 2011 6:22 am

PF Fish Deli Thins…love it…start the day with a smile!

June 16, 2011 7:06 am

The last part brought tears to my eyes. My youngest daughter (of 6) is heading off to college in the fall also. I am going to miss her lively spirit as only a teenage can bring into a household.

Elizabeth Bryan
Elizabeth Bryan
June 16, 2011 7:52 am

Just dropped my son (9) off at the new school we hope he will attending in the fall. Today he is trying it out – and I can hardly see the keyboard through tears. Change is hard but it is also good – it’s nice when they are excited about it though. Love the Pi 🙂

June 16, 2011 10:08 am

I’m missing one of those treadle hooks for my TOT 36″ 8 shaft loom also. Now I know where to find them and will be calling WEBS. Unless you want to bring one to the Midwest Weavers’ Conference. I will see you there I’m sure. Love the Pi, too. My daughter comes home from Italy (what a great summer school experience!) for the month of August. I can hardly wait to have her home for a whole month before she goes back to the university for her last year! How do they grow up so fast?

Peggy Bowman
Peggy Bowman
June 16, 2011 10:26 am

The close relationship you and Brianna have reminds me of what you have expressed so often about your art/craft – indulge it, experience it, learn and grow from it, move on to even more adventures. You each carry shared memories, and I’ve no doubt you’ll continue to build on them. Those major changes can still suck, though! Best wishes to Brianna at school. See you at Midwest, Daryl!

Mary Ehrlich
June 16, 2011 11:05 am

I am going to cry….. girl off to school, no more early breakfast making, an empty nest of one, I am going to cry!

Rita Rooney
Rita Rooney
June 16, 2011 11:59 am

Congrats to Brianna!

June 20, 2011 6:24 pm

Congratulations to Brianna! However, I know the mixed up emotions that go along with this big achievement…so let yourself cry a little and then let yourself enjoy the new adventures she’ll be telling you about. btw-I am so excited to be in your class at Midwest! Perhaps we can hear some more stories of your darling daughter and her Pi! 🙂

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