Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cormorants, Puffins, and Yarn Shops. Oh My!

OK, so there aren't exactly any Puffins in this picture but I did see some earlier, honest! There is a large variety of sea birds nesting here. They come to nest in spring and summer. In this picture the black bird is a Brandt's Cormorant. The cute black and white ones are Common Murres. There may be a Western Gull tucked in there as well. There are literally thousands of sea birds nesting on the rocks. I was able to get this close to one of the large rocks they are nesting on because there was a minus tide. Usually the rock is surrounded by a very cold Pacific Ocean. I also had to use the zoom feature on my camera.

I continue to be fascinated with the marine life and all the wonderful moods of weather and ocean here. I grew up by the sea and I don't think I will ever lose my love and respect of it. The picture on the right was taken on the same morning. Again, this area is usually submerged in water except at very low tides. In addition to the birds there are huge, fat, purple and orange starfish, urchins, mussels, various seaweeds, barnacles....and much more. There are broken sand dollars sprinkled all over the place. I did find two large whole ones and threw them back into the ocean.
Twill and I have been enjoying long walks on the beach. Twill has a propensity to roll in the dried seaweed and heaven-only-knows-what-else that is a bit disconcerting. I have to watch her. She usually picks a moment when I am busy photographing something!
Before I get to the local yarn stores, some of the sea birds to be found in this area during the summer are the following; Common Murre, several varieties of Cormorants, Tufted Puffins, a few varieties of Auklet, Leach's Storm Petrel, Western Gull, Pigeon Guillemot, Black Oystercatcher, Pelicans (I think Brown but am not sure), and various shorebirds too. The birds go elsewhere for the chilly dark winters.
Cannon Beach has a lovely yarn store called Coastal Yarns located on the north end of the main street of Hemlock. They are well stocked with knitting yarns and supplies. They had a few very small bags of wool fiber for needle felting and other small projects but not much else outside of knitting.
My favorite LYS is one we found in the little coastal town of Manzanita, about 15 miles south of Cannon Beach. We spent the afternoon browsing the town as we were, ahem, celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary relaxing and enjoying the moment. I wasn't looking for a yarn store or anything but this one caught my eye. It is called T-Spot, Yarn, Teas, and Chocolates. The store lived up to its name with a lovely variety of yarn, tea, and chocolate. Hard to go wrong with that combination. They had a bit of dyed roving as well. I plan to go back and get some Soy Silk yarn and a bar of pure chocolate and sugar. Two ingredients, nothing else added. The owner had the cutest little needle felting kits and the store was set up beautifully. The website for T-Spot is here an in my fiber links.
I really like Manzanita. It isn't as touristy as Cannon Beach. We actually stayed there on a past Thanksgiving with some friends. We are making plans to meet our friends there one day again.
Finally, we are about to move for the month of July to a spot east of Astoria, Oregon. The disadvantage of not having several months notice to make reservations is that every RV place worth staying at on the coast is full. We will be coming back for the month of August though before heading to Ashland in September. We are not used to hot weather and wanted to ease into a warmer climate. It is cool and wet here on the coast.
More to come! -Renee

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Greetings from Cannon Beach Oregon

Hello from beautiful Cannon Beach. I didn't get a chance to post a few pictures of the beach last time because I wanted to get to the post on the skeinwinder that I had promised a while back. Here I have my husband and our dog Twill posed in front of Haystack Rock. The picture is very deceiving because we are actually quite a ways down the beach from the rock. It stands about 200 feet high and is home to many sea birds. I haven't had a chance to stop by the mobile interpretive display on the beach but hope to soon so I can post a little bit more information on the flora and fauna.
I have been taking nice long walks on the beach with Twill in the mornings and exploring the little coastal town bit by bit in the afternoons. It is one of these towns that survive on the tourist trade but is still charming none the less. It is also one of the art towns listed in the 100 Best Art Towns in America by John Villani.
I must also mention here that Ashland, Oregon, the town we are moving to, is also listed and is in fact number two in the top ten list.
Cannon Beach does have a yarn store. I popped in for a bit of a browse. The store has quite a nice selection on yarns that cater to the knitter or crocheter. Alas nothing for the weaver or spinner although I have used knitting yarns in my weaving on occasion.
This picture on the right is a bit goofy I know. It is essentially a self-portrait. I set my camera up on a driftwood log and set the timer then ran out in front. The problem is Twill thought is was a really fun game and kept trying to grab my drop spindle. I am leaning away from her while trying to spin and get it all in motion before the timer goes off! It took a few tries and some of the pictures look pretty funny. It was a lovely sunny day but still quite cool. We have a storm moving in at the moment but I hope to break out my spinning wheel and loom soon. It has been too long and I am itching to get back to it before I get bogged down in school.
I have been enjoying the art galleries and the farmer's market as well. There are a few art events coming up which will be lovely to see. We are still catching up on sleep but the area is beautiful and peaceful. Just what we needed to restore the color and sparkle in our faces.
It is starting to sink in that I have a bit more time at the moment to catch up on the blogs I am following and post a few tidbits myself. I shall return soon! -Renee

Sunday, June 14, 2009

An Epic Move and a Skeinwinder

WE DID IT!!! Our house sold and we are now drinking champagne as I post in Cannon Beach, Oregon. OK, I need to back up a bit. I personally know that there have been folks that have had a far more epic move than we have but moving after living in one spot for 22 years is always a huge undertaking. We have been paring down and packing for quite a while but when the sale looked like it was going to actually go through this time, the packing got serious. The house closed on Thursday and we signed the papers on Tuesday. We managed to pack what was left from the purge into one big Penske rental truck and a U-Haul trailer. We ended up loading a bit later into the night than we thought so we left for Ashland, Oregon later than we planned on Wednesday morning. We drove for 12 hours in tandem with me driving our pickup with a U-Haul trailer and my husband driving the big Penske. We spent Wednesday night in Grants Pass, Oregon about 30 miles north of Ashland and drove to a storage place on Thursday. The manager was out doing errands so we didn't get to start unloading until late in the afternoon. We finished unloading our worldly goods about 7 pm and left off the rental trailer and truck. Needless to say it was quite late when we finally headed back to our trailer 500 miles away in Washington State. We ended up driving through the whole night.
Now, when we were younger we could do that and shake it off but, alas, we are middle age at the moment and the body doesn't recover quite as fast! After a week of being short on sleep, it has been pretty hard to recover from the hard physical work of loading and unloading, a long drive, and the mental strength that has been required. We put off moving our trailer for a day but yesterday, after another very long drive, we arrived at Cannon Beach for the first stop over on our way to Ashland. We will be spending the summer before school starts resting up along the Oregon coast. It is beautiful. I will be taking pictures tomorrow to post really soon.
In the meantime, we sleep a lot. I have absolutely nothing planned for the week except to eat, sleep, walk the beach, and, ahem, enjoy time with my husband.
I think I can tell you now that all the stress and exhausting work will be well worth it.
Now, to change the topic a bit, I promised last post that I would show the homemade skeinwinder my husband made for me several years ago.
These pictures were taken after the winder had been packed, but I was able to haul it out to take a couple of hasty pictures. The picture on the left shows the full winder. I clamp the bottom of the winder to a table. The metal plate is attached to two arms that have dowels with knobs on the ends to wind the yarn on. I can unscrew the dowels and move them to the holes you can see toward the middle and I will get a one yard skein. The two yard skein works best for most of my purposes and I can get that with the dowels placed at the end of the arms.
I have a dowel with a screw in the end which I insert in the notches in the metal plate to turn the winder which ever way I wish. I can get that baby really humming too! One of the knobs on the end of the dowels unscrews so I can pop the finished skein off.

The picture on the right is a closeup of the turning mechanism in back. There is a pulley with a ball bearing insert that is screwed onto the back mount and the metal plate is bolted through the center of the winder arms so that they turn freely.
I hope this makes sense. It can be a bit challenging to describe. I guess the best I can do is to perhaps give everyone a general idea so that if they wish to make one themselves they can have a good starting point. I will admit, I love tinkering and building tools to use in my studio.
I keep count of the number of turns by simply marking one arm of the winder with a red "X" and counting every time it flashes by. I sometimes use a tie to tie up every 50 or so threads when making larger skeins of fine threads. Low tech yes, but sometimes that works the best.
So, Priscilla, I hope this helps a bit if you haven't already solved your winding needs. I find it helpful when I need to make my own tools to look at similar ones online. That reminds me, I need to make a shuttle bobbin winder. I have always used my AVL electric pirn winder but that won't work in our trailer (no room!) and I don't need that much power for winding bobbins for the Jane loom. I am thinking of a simple attachment for a small power drill...
More from Cannon Beach soon! -Renee