Feb 14, 2010


Welcome to my first ever blog posting. For this initial foray into the world of blogging, I'll just introduce myself. And the best way to tell you about me is to explain my blog title.

Guns, Fiber, and Sawdust
My three favorite activities. Where all my non-work time is spent, and where all my non-budget money goes. They're my obsessions... my life... the most important things to me outside my family.

I grew up in a shooting family, and our sport has always been primarily trapshooting. While I also shoot skeet, sporting clays, pistol, rifle, and dove and quail hunt every season, my obsession will always be ATA (Amateur Trapshooting Association) trapshooting. I love it. I've been competing since March of 2007. Last year, I bought a small 18" travel trailer that I tow all over Texas to different ATA registered shoots. I can't begin to describe the joy and fun I've had so far competing in this sport. I've met the most amazing people, and have the honor to call them fellow competitors and friends. They epitomize the meaning of sportsmanship. I've also been blessed to have experienced some success in this sport. In fact, I just found out yesterday (officially) that I made the TTA (Texas Trapshooting Association) Ladies' State Team for the second year in a row. Last year, I finished third. This year, I finished second. My goal this next year is finish in first place and captain the ladies' team. Considering the caliber of women currently shooting ATA trap in the state of Texas, this is a very tall goal.

I love all things fiber. I was taught in my early teen years to crochet and knit by family members. My entire family has always been crafty, and I guess it was inevitable that I inherit this bug. Over the years, I taught myself the arts of tatting, crochet, quilting, and cross stitch - mostly from reading books. And the simple dishcloth or potholder patterns hold absolutely no interest for me. I want the hard stuff. I was doing fair isle colorwork and cables back in college as a way to destress from classes. I work my cross stitch on 24-36 count even weave (can't stand Aida cloth). I've worked some amazingly detailed Christmas stockings. Two so far. One for me, and one for my sister. After college, I mostly crocheted. A few baby blankets for the those friends blessed in starting their own families. Mostly, I crocheted Christmas stuff in #10 bedpsread cotton. The more intricate, the better.

In July of last year, though, after a few years' hiatus, I got bit by the knitting bug again... HARD! It started with an innocent project class with my Mom while visiting family in Michigan. We both liked the tote bag patterns being taught, and we thought it would be a good way to spend Mom/Daughter time. It turned out to be Mom/Daughter/Sister/Cousin time (even better!). The end result is that I got bit, and I've been going full steam ever since.

I'm now completely in love with making hand-knit socks and lace shawls. Don't know when I'll ever use a shawl, but I've got two in progress with plans for a dozen more. I guess it's the challenge of knitting lace. It's so beautiful.

I also got bit recently by the spinning bug. A friend at my knitting group, Kennedy, usually brings her spinning wheel with her. When I first met her, I would just stare, fascinated. One week, she pulled out a drop spindle and started spinning using that. She showed it to me, and I thought "I can make that in my woodshop". Once I made a spindle, I had to learn to use it. How else could I tell if I made it right?? She has since convinced me that instead of continuing to search for the perfect shade of red yarn to make a particular shawl, I should instead buy 8 oz of merino roving that just happened to be the perfect color of red, and spin the yarn myself. I've almost got my first full spindle of singles, and it's going very well.

As you might have guessed when I talked about making my own drop spindle, I love making sawdust. I have a woodshop that makes most men jealous. I mostly work with the lathe and the scroll saw. The more intricate the project, the more I want to do it. I've got a couple things in progress, including a very large wall hanging of The Lord's Prayer and a large walnut rocking horse. My current obsession, though, happens to be making drop spindles.

After making that first one, I kept making them. I would bring them to knit group, and Kennedy would test drive each one and give me pointers on how to improve them. Her help was invaluable in so many ways. Each time she pointed out a way to improve, I learned, not just how to make a better spindle, but how to actually use the darn thing. Now, it appears that I'm on the cusp of having myself a start-up business. I made a set of five drop spindles in November of 2009 and took them to Kennedy to test drive. She snatched up one for herself right away (must be I did okay). The rest I took out to Yarnorama in Paige, TX. Susan, the owner, bought them all and is selling them in her shop. Now I'm working out the kinks in establishing an efficient production line so that i can make several more. The working name of my new business is JB Woodworks, but that is subject to change. One google search on that name turns up way too many matches. I think I need something more unique... but first, let's get the next batch made.

I attended a Christmas party out at Yarnorama this year, and one of the things we did was write down our fiber goals for 2010. One of mine was to spin my ruby roving and knit my bleeding hearts shawl. Another was to knit the Aeolian Shawl. Another was to make and sell 100 drop spindles. Guess I better get busy...