Friday, November 16, 2012

St. Distaff's Day Celebration

Click to enlarge

Following the Twelve Days of Christmas, St. Distaff’s Day 
(traditionally celebrated on January 7)
heralded the return of women to work after the holiday merriment.

We plan on celebrating by feasting, knitting, spinning, and having a yarn/fiber swap. 

St. Distaff’s Day Yarn/Fiber Swap Information

Admit it. You have far too much yarn/fiber in your stash. If it has been in your stash since Nixon was president,  it might be time to let that yarn or fiber find a new home.


1.      Make sure you’re ready to let go of your yarn when you bring it to the swap!

2.      Bring a minimum of two full skeins of yarn or two 4oz amounts of fiber—please only bring clean yarn & fiber that is in good condition and that you would be willing to use yourself. Please label fiber & yarn with brand/fiber/content/yardage. You will receive one ticket for each item that you bring.

3.      Other acceptable items for swap include: fiber books & magazines, and patterns in good condition (NO photocopies!), knitting needles, crochet hooks, or other yarn tools like project bags, etc. Partial skeins of yarn, smaller amounts of fiber and other small items may be combined into a nice “grab bag”.

4.      NO selling allowed.

5. Swappers will draw numbers to determine the order of choosing for each round. Your number of tickets will determine the number of rounds in which you participate.

Food (bring a finger food to share) & 
a Sit-n-Knit will follow the swap.

Call or email to register by December 31, 2012
Vinton Branch Library
Vinton, Virginia

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Comet Does NOT Make a Good Shampoo

Almost every Sunday all of the family would go to Grandma and Grandpa Vaughn's house for dinner. ( For those folks north of the Mason-Dixon line, "dinner" means the noontime meal.) My grandparents had ten children and then there were sixteen grandchildren. So by the time you add in spouses and various other relatives that might show up, there was always a house full of people just waiting to chow down on Grandma Sallie's good food.

My favorites were Grandma's wonderful fried chicken and especially her sweet tater pie! No one has ever been able to make that pie the way she did and I would give so much to be able to have a piece of it right now. You could always count on a jar of honey sitting in the middle of the table from Grandpa's honeybees, big glasses of icy cold homemade buttermilk (which I would not touch!) and fresh butter that Grandma had churned.

The thing that would make the visit all the more special was if my cousin, Norma Jean was there too. I was born just 19 days before Norma, so we were like two peas in a pod. The minute that we both got together, we would go off somewhere and play. Sometimes we would go outside, but that meant that our parents had to watch us carefully since Grandpa kept bees and being fascinated by the bee supers, I always wanted to get close to them. Also there was the danger of the Mayo River which flowed along two sides of the yard. If there was water, I was immediately drawn to it and my mom knew that, so she always had to watch me like a hawk watches chickens.

Me & Norma
circa 1967

When we couldn't go outside, we would wander into one of the rooms of the house where there were not so many people. Usually, that meant that we would go into one of the three bedrooms and play. One day, we we into the bathroom and we were sitting in the dry bathtub playing. I do remember that one of our parents came in there to check on us and all they saw was us innocently sitting in the tub. I'm sure that they thought to themselves what trouble could we possibly get into just sitting in a bathtub?

What they didn't notice was the can of Comet sitting on the side of the tub. 

<insert ominous drum roll here>

What happened next has been a source of amusement to Norma and me ever since. I'm not sure whose idea it was, but we decided to "shampoo" each others hair. With Comet. Oh yeah. I know what you are thinking, especially if you read the warnings on the can of Comet.

Maybe our parents should have read the label. 

Imagine being a parent and walking into the bathroom and finding your little girls with tons of Comet in their hair mixed up with some water.  I seem to remember that I was crying and probably with good reason since I had Comet burning my scalp off!  I can remember my mom telling people about finding us with Comet all in our hair and how hard it was to get it all out.  I also remember REALLY having something to cry about after I got a whipping for doing something that I KNEW was wrong in the first place.  And I did know.

Norma and I had many adventures over the years, and believe me, there are quite a few that you will never read about here!

Abt 1976
We still stay in touch via email and facebook, but we have not seen each other in person for about 14 years.

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Mystery of Grandpa's Sayings

John Edward Burnette
ca. 1980

My Grandpa Burnette had some very unusual and colorful sayings.  I would give most anything if he were still alive so that I could ask him where he picked up these sayings or why he said them. He died when I was in my teens and it never occurred to me to question him then. I am sure there are other sayings that were just as intriguing, but here are the ones that I remember the most.
My parents and I lived just across the road from Grandpa and Grandma Burnette, so we were all always in each other's homes. When Grandpa used to be at our house and it was time for him to go home, he would say "I'm going back across the channel."  Well, as a little girl, when he said "channel" the only thing that I could picture in my mind was a television channel! That didn't make sense to me, but Grandpa was always saying things that sounded a bit strange to my ears. Now, I am wondering if he was making a reference to the English Channel and why would he have been doing that?

If Grandpa was referring to something that happened before I was born when he was talking to me, he would always say "that happened while you were over in the Old Country." I had no idea what that meant, but it always made me giggle. Of course, years later I found out that he was referring to Europe the way that many immigrants would have referred to it after they came to the United States.

When Grandpa was ready to leave, I would always beg him to stay a bit longer. He would say that he had places to go and things to do. When I would ask him where he was going, he would say "I'm off to Nova Scotia!"  To my knowledge he was never there and had no relatives there either. Another mysterious saying.

Now, some things to keep in mind. My Grandpa was born, raised, and lived most of his life in Virginia.  He did live in West Virginia for a brief time when he worked in the coal mines.  No matter what branch of the family tree that I trace, all of his ancestors came directly to Virginia from either Scotland or England in either the 1600s or early 1700s. So he was quite a few generations removed from his ancestors that did immigrate to this country. So why did he have all of these references to what must have been Great Britain and Nova Scotia?

Have you ever heard anyone use these sayings before? Do you have any theories about why my Grandpa may have used these sayings?

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean