Monday, July 14, 2014

Free Spinner's Clinic....

Spinners in the NE Ohio area. I will be hosting a free clinic on Tues. July 29th at 7:00 p.m. with Dr. Mitchell Pfeiffer of Pfeiffer Chiropractic Clinic, Wellington, Oh.
Dr. Pfeiffer will be discussing proper posture at the wheel and how to avoid neck and shoulder pain. He will also be answering your questions.
Bring your wheel!
At The Grainary, Wellington, Oh. Please PM me for directions. This is a FREE clinic but I will need you to sign up by July 24th. Space is limited.
Please share with your guild and spinning friends. Spinning is supposed to be relaxing, not painful!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Facebook, Growing and Some Summer Love.....

Lovely flowers from my aunt, out of her garden.
For years, I’ve avoided joining Facebook. I simply didn’t understand the reasoning behind it and had no interest. Recently, however, I decided it may be a good platform to promote The Spinner’s Cottage and connect with other local fiber enthusiasts.

I set up my page but didn’t get back to it too often. Two weeks later, after not being too attentive to the forum, I began to run into old friends.  It started to become fun catching up with old school mates whom I’ve not seen nor heard from in over 30 years. It seems like a lifetime ago that we were all together in school and now we are "familiar strangers" meeting up in this very active website. Some people post photos from when we were teens that have triggered memories that I have long since pushed to the back of my mind.

Since graduation, we have all walked our own paths. Gone our own way and scattered across the country.  We have dealt with our own demons, lived in our own hells, and achieved our own dreams.
In catching up with some, I find that our paths were very similar at times. We’ve all had ups and downs, yet we all trod forward, moving through time that is too precious to waste. Yes, we’ve learned much since those adolescent years when life was fresh and hopes were what drove us. I had forgotten how much fun I had with some of these people.

I, like my classmates, have lived a whole life since then. I’ve grown in ways I had never imagined. Experienced things I would rather not have, and have been fortunate enough to hold in my hands, true happiness. And while I have come through the ashes a little scarred, a bit scared and a whole lot changed, I realize, that these things are what have made me into the person I am today. When I look back at the girl I was back in school, I can truly say that I am a much better person today. I am better despite, and because of my experiences, both good and bad and while I would surely erase certain events in my life, I know I cannot turn back the hands of time.

So I will simply enjoy the summer love that Mother Nature offers up every year to remind us of how fragile and beautiful life is.

Until next time,

Monday, May 26, 2014

Remembering on Memorial Day..........

Memorial Day was created to honor and remember those soldiers who died in battle during the American Civil War.

Exactly where and when is questionable, but eventually the entire Nation agreed to a particular day in May to remember those soldiers who have fallen in battle.

We call it Memorial Day.

 A 1906 claim stated that the first Civil War Soldier's grave was decorated in Warrenton, Virginia on June 3, 1861.

In 1862, women in Savannah, Georgia, decorated the graves of Confederate solders who died in the Civil War.

In 1863, the cemetery dedication service at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was a commemoration ceremony at the graves of dead soldiers.

July 4, 1864, ladies decorated the graves of Civil War Soldiers, at Boalsburg, Pennsylvania.

In 1865 the Federal Government began formally dedicating National Military Cemeteries for dead Union Soldiers. More than 600,000 Union and Confederate Soldiers lost their lives during the Civil War.

Prints and Photographs Collection, Library of Congress
On May 1, 1865, a group of Freedmen, or former slaves who were freed as a result of the Civil War, declared a May Day, in which they, along with Missionaries and School Teachers, gathered to clean up and landscape the unmarked graves of some 257 Union Prisoners who died while imprisoned at the Charleston Race Course in Charleston, South Carolina.
This was the first widely publicized gathering to honor those who died during the Civil War and was covered by The New York Tribune.
It was there that the first public commemoration took place after workers erected an enclosure and arch with the dedication, "Martyrs of the Race Course".
Around 10,000 people, including 3,000 school children, Union Troops, Northern Missionaries and black Ministers gathered to commemorate these soldiers and this day became known as Decoration Day.

In 1866, the Ladies Memorial Association, of Columbus, Georgia, passed a resolution to honor the Confederate dead annually. This is known as the Confederate Memorial Day. Throughout the south, many states continue to observe this day, however it falls on different days in different states according to the event they choose to commemorate.

April 25th, 1866, women laid flowers at the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers, at Columbus, Mississippi.

May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization for Union Civil War Veterans, issued a proclamation for a "Decoration Day" to be observed annually and Nationally. That year, the commemoration commenced on May 30, a date chosen because there had been no particular battle on that date.

May 5, 1868, Ironton, Ohio held the first Decoration Day parade and continues this tradition today. It is claimed to be the oldest running Memorial Day parade in the Nation.

In 1868, ceremonies held for Memorial Day at Gettysburg National Park became nationally recognized as a tradition.


Memorial observances were held in 183 cemeteries in 27 states that year and grew to 336 the following year.

In 1871, Michigan declared Decoration Day to be an official State Holiday.
By 1890, every Northern state had done the same.

By 1870, 300,000 Union Soldiers had been reinterred in 73 National Military Cemeteries.

The Commemoration Ceremonies were sponsored by the Women's Relief Corps, which was the women's auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic, with nearly 100,000 members.

In 1882, the commemoration ceremonies for Decoration Day started to become known as Memorial Day, and in 1967, was declared as the official name.

In 1968, Congress declared Monday to be the National Day of Observance in order to combine 4 known military memorial holidays into one and make for a 3 day weekend. The reaction to this move was  not well received.

The VFW stated in a 2002 Memorial Day Address:
"Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day". (Wikipedia)

Memorial Day has seen many changes over the last 153 years, but the one constant that has remained is the why. To honor and remember those soldiers who have fallen in order to protect the freedoms of these United States of America.

Library of Congress

I would venture to guess that the first soldier's grave to be decorated was probably done by his widow. A very personal and private gesture to show her undying love for him. When and why others followed suit, remains to be seen, however, we must keep in mind, that women from both the north and the south, deemed it necessary to honor soldiers, both confederate and union. I can only imagine that the women who chose to decorate the graves of soldiers from the opposite side, did so out of unspoken sisterhood to that soldier's wife who could not do so herself. These women understood the magnitude of the Civil War, the great loss on both sides. In their effort to do something, anything to acknowledge the pain that was inflicted by this war, the children it left fatherless, the women it left widowed, and the families it tore apart, they unwittingly created a National Day of Observance that is still honored more than 150 years later.
Today, we celebrate with picnics, time with friends and family and continue to decorate our cemeteries, wave our flag, and honor those fallen in battle for this country.

A Marine at Vietnam Memorial July 4, 202 (Wikipedia)

It is no longer a holiday to honor only the Civil War dead, but to honor all of the fallen soldiers, both past and present.
So, while you are enjoying your day in what ever fashion you celebrate, please take a moment to remember those who can't. Think about their families, widows and children alike, who are left behind. Their soldier sacrificed his or her life to ensure that we continue to celebrate things like Memorial Day.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Winds of Change.....

Dear Readers,

I know it's been a very long time since I've posted, but I have been around, just very busy.
Even if it doesn't appear so, I do read each and every one of your comments and emails and I very much appreciate them.

Summer is fast approaching and, of course, I am no where near ready for it. Spring has been proving to be lovely weather, yes including all of the rain we've had, but the first sign of spring is more of a starting pistol for the race ahead. The race with the work, that is!

Weeds are growing....well, like weeds, and I am already behind. The "To Do" list is endless and I fear I will never be able to complete it before the winter winds begin to howl once again.
I spend about 4-5 hours on the lawnmower each time I cut grass and this gives me a lot of time for clearing my head, reflecting, and thinking of plans for the future.
Last week, while I was mowing, I reflected on the changes in my life and how those changes have shaped who I am today.

At times, The Winds of Change have knocked me flat out, while other times it has gently caressed my cheek as if to whisper sweet nothings in my ear. Either way change can be hard, and yet sometimes it can be enlightening and positive.
So, last week, as I was mowing and reflecting, I started to see clearly, the path I now must venture along. A new horizon if you will.
Some of you have known me for many years in real life, and others of you just know me from this blog.
I love the magic of the dyepot, the splendor of blending fibers on the carder/hackle and the sweet serenity of spinning yarn.
But it's not enough to make a living at yet and I need to do so. I have had many jobs in my lifetime, but it has been, writing that has called me home time and time again.
The winds of change that knocked me flat out 5 years ago, tickled my feet a year later when I discovered spinning and tried to blow me over when I lost my job just over a year ago. Instead, I enrolled myself as a full time college student in order to learn more about business and webdesign.  I have spent the past few weeks looking into the possibilities of returning to writing/photography.
I'm not sure where I'll land as far as work goes, but be assured, the fiber will not suffer because of it. The fiber is my future.
Now, this very long and tedious post leads me to a point about this blog. I have resisted allowing ads on this blog because I wanted to keep it beautiful and enjoyable. I have been cornered into trying ads though, at least for a while. I hope you don't mind and they should be geared toward craft/fiber/gardening things, hopefully. I will do my best to keep them discreet, yet I do hope you will patronize these advertisers if they are of interest to you.

I will also, for the time being, be writing more about many crafts here at The Spinner's Cottage. In the future, I may be moving to a completely different blog for those purposes, but in the meantime, I am making this the new home for all things craft/home/garden. I'm not sure where these particular winds of change will land me, but I am hoping I enjoy this ride!

I started this afghan in 1976. It has been reworked no less than 3 times but I finally finished it this year!

Thank you for taking time out of your precious day to spend here at The Spinner's Cottage.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle.......

All the way....Oh what fun ....

I've been having lately!

Since last post, which I know has been a while, I have been a busy girl. Lots of new fiber in The Grainary, which I should have gotten photos of, but you know me. Always on the ball!

To start off, I'd like to make a little announcement. I am having a New Year's Eve Party!!! Not the typical kind, but a fibery party. I'm inviting locals to join me in the shop for a fun evening of knitting, crocheting, spinning, what ever fibery thing they want to work on. I will be serving lots of goodies to snack on and also playing the movie 'The Holiday' with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. I will be doing a random drawing as well and offering two prizes for the winners.
And,  not to exclude my online fiber friends, I am also offering a fiber-along on my Ravelry Group, The Spinner's Cottage. Please head over to the group to sign up and chat about your plans for New Year's Eve. Take a photo of your project as you are working on it on New Year's Eve and post it in the group. I am doing a random drawing from the posts for two prizes there as well. I'm keeping the prizes secret for now, but the winners are sure to be pleased!

 The Grainary is all dressed up for Christmas and two weeks ago we had the most beautiful Christmas snow. I tend to get in the mood for shooting outside on nights like this. It has since melted, rained for two days and now everything looks yucky. But that's Ohio weather for you!


My favorite tree. It was our Christmas tree in 1995.

Now, I have been busy working on Christmas gifts and thought I'd share a few with you. I can't tell you who they're for because there is a slight chance that my family is reading.....

Some fun cobweb scarves:

Alpaca, Merino, Silk, Angelina
Alpaca, Merino, Silk and Silk hankies, Firestar

Same here
A plain old felted scarf.

Alpaca, Polworth...very soft!
 And I have been busy dyeing up some new yarns for the shop. No, that's not one skein. It's 5, but you knew that. This is a lovely DK BFL. As you can see I am thinking in color!! I will be dyeing up 5 more skeins on Thursday plus some luscious fingering weight merino/cashmere/nylon blend!!
 Socks anyone??

And I have been spending some quality time with my Minstrel, but not as much as I'd like to be. We are turning these silk hankies into

This silk yarn.
Yes, some parts are a little lumpy, it's my first time spinning silk hankies. I am really happy with the way the colors are blending up. I will be dyeing up some hankies for the shop soon too. These are my testers.

I dyed up this mill spun Alpaca. I think it will make a lovely wrap or hat and scarf. I haven't decided yet, but it may be what I am working on New Year's Eve.

The November Phat Fiber box was themed "The Renaissance". I went off on my own little view and did a tribute to "The Harlem Renaissance". The blue is "Lena" for Lena Horne, the red is Globetrotters for the Harlem Globetrotters, the green is Cotton Club, the purple is "The Color Purple", yes for the book/movie, and the brown is "Hellfighter" for the Harlem Hellfighters. This is a sample box of the collection and more will be available in the new year as well as some full sized braids. I have a few in The Grainary right now but will be posting in the Etsy store when I get more done along with drop spindle kits, some new blends that I've been working on and the yarns I mentioned above.

The December Phat fiber box was themed Hollywood Glamour. I decided to get started on my tribute to the costumes of Gone With The Wind. It is a project I have been long thinking about and this seemed like the perfect time to start. I am thinking of doing a monthly or bi-monthly club with this collection. If you are interested, let me know. You can always contact me through Etsy or through the Ravelry group.

Well, I guess that's about it this time. I have some other felted goodies drying and that's about it for my Christmas presents this year. I have one project to finish but it will not be done in time for Christmas even though it's a present. It will be completed soon after though and I will post a photo of it, as I am truly excited about it.
I will also be making more scarves and felted goodies for both the Etsy and The Grainary.

I want to wish all of you the loveliest Christmas. Eat too much, laugh too hard, and overflow your heart with love and joy!!

~ Vickie



Friday, November 8, 2013

The Minstrel has Arrived....A Love Story

Two years ago, I was exhibiting at The Great Lake Fiber Festival over Memorial Weekend. I had been on a mission for the previous several months to find a wheel that would fit me perfectly.  I searched the internet, studying wheels, narrowing down the particular wheels I really wanted to see in person and try out. I figured there is no better place to test drive a few wheels than at a large fiber fest!
Sales were slow and my aunt who was there helping me was happily crocheting herself a scarf out of some of my handspun Alpaca. It was the last day of the show and getting late in the afternoon so I thought it was a good time to slip away and see what I could find.
Armed with a couple of ounces of my own Alpaca and wool, I buzzed through the barns with my head focused on wheels. I stopped to look at each one that caught my eye. I had it in mind what I wanted, but wasn't sure I would find it.
I had long coveted a castle wheel, but I didn't want an antique. This is unusual for me because I am an antiquey kind of girl. This time, however, I wanted new.
I stopped to look at a Country Spinner which was wonderful, but I already had a Cowichan wheel for the bulky, huge skeins.
Nope, I wanted a lovely upright wheel that took up a small amount of space. One that would fit into my d├ęcor, yet didn't make me feel like I had to walk on eggshells around. I already had one of those too.
I moved on. I stopped next at a tent with an Ashford Traveller. I had been eyeballing them online. So cute, so compact. The kind of wheel I could pick up and take with me whenever I wanted. It's an upright. Good. It has a small footprint. Good. It was hot out and the lady had a nice shady tent with a slight breeze. I sat down at the wheel and gave her a whirl. My excitement waned. It was a darling wheel but it just didn't fit me. Not like I wanted it to. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the uneven ground I was on. Maybe it was the chair. I don't know but it was very disappointing that a wheel that I liked so much and had thought about so much didn't fit me like I assumed it would.
I moved on. A little less enthusiastic by now. A little over heated. A little disappointed. A little discouraged that I would find what I needed. Wanted. Had to have.
I moved through a few more booths. Lots of lovely wheels. I looked at what other exhibitors were using. I stood and watched as they happily treadled their wheels with ease. I could see the relaxed looks on their faces, knowing that they had the wheel that fit them.
I was leaving the last barn and heading back to my booth, face red from heat, sweat pouring off of me, disappointed that I didn't find my wheel, knowing I had to wait.
This day was months in the making. Anticipating that day I would bring home the perfect wheel. But not today. It was not meant to be. It was time to go back to my booth and rethink how I would get the wheel I wanted. Buying online was now something that I didn't think was a good idea. Not now after I tried a few wheels that I liked but found they didn't quite fit me. How could I buy a wheel without trying it out now knowing what I knew.
As I moved down the last aisle of the last barn, I could see the bright hot sun shining from through the door. I got toward the end booth and the bright sun from outside shown in my eyes making them hurt. Something caught my eye.
It was a woman sitting in the middle of her booth like a spinning goddess, surrounded by braids of roving and skeins of yarn. There she sat as if she was on a stage, spinning on the loveliest wheel I had ever seen. But I had seen this wheel before. Online. I approached her, slowly, watching, trying to adjust my eyes and my head at what I was seeing.
"You want to give it try?" She asked.
"Really?" I asked.
"Sure!" she said as she got up from what seemed like a really tall director's chair.
I removed my shoes.
I sat down carefully, shyly, awkwardly. It was like sitting down next to the cute guy on the bus. I felt like I was blushing.
Carol, the spinning goddess that sat in that chair before me encouraged me to take the fiber that she had been spinning. "Go ahead", she said, "it won't break."
I reached for the wheel to get her started but the spinning goddess stopped me. "Just start treadling." she said with gentle kindness.
I took up the fiber in my trembling hands and started treadling. Smoothly, the wheel started turning and I struggled with my drafting. I started again at the gentle urging of the spinning goddess.
In seconds I was spinning without abandon. Elated, I felt myself smiling.
"Do you sell these?" I asked.
"I sure do." she answered.
"Do you mind if I try my own fiber?" I asked.
"Of course not!" she exclaimed. "take as much time as you need."
I pulled out my wool. Spun like a dream. I pulled out my Alpaca. Spun like a dream. The wheel fit me. I was sitting straight. Comfortable. Spinning with ease. Not only was she beautiful, she fit me!!
I paid the spinning goddess and filled out the necessary paperwork. She put my new wheel on a dolly and delivered it across the grounds to my truck.
My mom and aunt had already started packing up and loading the truck. I couldn't stop smiling.
The spinning goddess owns River's Edge Fiber Arts in Michigan. We said goodbye. I felt like I had just adopted a new puppy!
A few months later, I finally got the chance, to stain the parts of the unfinished version I chose, and took her to mom's for some detailing. She worked on it here and there but had limited time and some big orders to fill. She finished this week. So after a year and a half, my new wheel finally returned home.
Yesterday, I awoke sickly feeling so I decided I needed a day to relax. After chores, I spent some good quality time on my couch and in the afternoon, I broke out the tongue oil and went to work on my wheel. It was relaxing work. By 1 a.m. I had her put together. I stared in awe at her beauty. She was a little tacky yet, but I knew that hand rubbed tongue oil would cure in time for me to take her for a test drive this afternoon. Which I did. I love her. We still fit.
And here, I present to you with pride and joy....The Kromski Minstrel.....

I haven't had much time with her, but when I was spinning for the first time I caught a glimpse of little cartoon hearts floating above us. I think this is a true love connection!
I hope you have enjoyed my little story. A little corny, maybe, but how many of you have felt that same way when you found your perfect wheel?
Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Fall Country Tour....

Hi Guys,
I know this post is a bit late, but I have been a very busy girl. We did a little rearranging in the shop this week, getting ready for the upcoming tour.

The Fall Tour is just a tiny bit different than the Spring Bag Lady Tour so here are the changes:

New on the tour this fall is The Quilting Shanty. She is my aunt, Sue Zimmerman, and located just two doors down from The Grainary. I didn't have time to get photos, but here is her new Etsy Shop
She offers beautiful hand quilted quilts, and has been quilting for about 20 years I think. She also makes darling windchimes out of vintage kitchen utensils and lovely jewelry. I think you will find The Quilting Shanty to be a nice addition to the tour.

An old staple of the Fall Tour but not on the Spring Tour is Whistle Hollow Farms Pumpkin Factory. Located in Homerville, Pete and Debbie Winson offer tons of pumpkins and everything you could possibly need for Halloween! Again, I did not have time to get photos but I have been to their wonderful shop and it is a must see! Please visit their website at for more information.

Here is a photo of just a few of the items going into the Basket for drawing this year.

No longer on the tour are The Wellington Country Inn for reasons I do not know. North40Creations have moved out of state, but will continue business as usual on their website,, Dolls and Minis has moved to  Olmsted Falls and her new address is on her website,  Good luck to all of you, we will miss you guys!!

Please view my Bag Lady posts for details on the rest of us.

One thing new in The Grainary this year is my expanded fiber space! I am super excited about being able to offer more fiber this year and hope you will be able to stop out and visit us. We are also planning many fibery things in the coming months, so please check back often for details which will be posted here and also on my new Ravelry Group, The Spinners Cottage. I hope you will stop by and have a chat with us. Ravelry is a great site that offers thousands of wonderful groups. If  you haven't been, it is well worth signing up and spending some time checking out all it has to offer.

Mom has some new Angel designs this year that I am sure will go fast. They are cute as can be!

I also want to mention to all of you spinners out there, if you feel like stopping by sometime over the next two weekends and having a spin with me, feel free. Bring your wheel or spindle. I will be spinning for the tour and would love the company!

I know a lot of you will be heading to Ashland for the Fall Fiber Festival this weekend,  and I wish all of the vendors and patrons great weather and good fiber!!!

My Etsy store is closed for the next week but will reopen after the tour is over.

Thank you for stopping by,