It’s all about fiber today… with a side order of family fun   21 comments

I made this.

Take a closer look.



It came out so well I wish I had made more than one ounce!    But now I know I can dye fiber and spin it into yarn.  Pretty stinking amazing.

Meanwhile… I finished Reyna (photos to come after blocking) and so had nothing on my needles! (I don’t count the vest that is buried in the bottom of the basket.  I took the needle out to use it for something else and can’t remember if it was an 8 or a 9.  I might have to start that one over again.)

This morning I was up early with the thunderstorm, and no one else was, so this might have happened:


That’s 4 shawls.  Patterns chosen, yarn and beads chosen, needles assigned, and in three cases, patterns printed.

Two are already cast on.  I am determined to get three of them going today, so I have options when knitting.  Completely breaking my rule on number of WIPs.  I blame it on the orange baby set.  I need blues and teals and grays in my world, and these four shawls are those colors.  Yup.  All of them.  I will likely sell some, but I might not, if I love them all.  Ha!


Also today we are going to a graduation party mid-day.  Amy’s nephew’s son graduated from high school this year, down in PA.  Since his whole family lives up here, they are throwing him a party now, when everyone is in Maine.  It will be nice to see everyone, and hear what they are all up to.

Tomorrow is a picnic at Mom’s – all siblings and some nieces and a nephew, I expect.  No occasion, officially, although it is Mom and B’s anniversary.

It is a family party type weekend! All the best kind of crazy.  Lots of driving, lots of visiting.  And that means lots of knitting, so I had better go get those shawls cast on so I have something to work on all weekend. :-)



Return of the Friday list!   8 comments

A and I have scheduled a few Fridays off over rest of the summer, so watch for the return of my Friday list posts.

This week:

I have to go to Ellsworth in the morning to drop food off for a work meeting – I don’t have to stay for the meeting, so it will be a drop and run.  Run where?

Out to breakfast, then some grocery shopping with A.

Pick up the mail at the PO.

Home again, where we will tidy up the house and get the laundry rolling, as this is a busy weekend coming up, starting with a visit from nephew D and his lovely wife, also A. They are in town from Colorado and asked if they could come over sometime in the afternoon. Naturally, we said yes, haven’t seen them in so long!

There will likely be cookie baking in preparation for the visit.

And, as it is predicted to be hot, there might be some swimming.

And a bit of spinning/plying/knitting indoors.

Perhaps a visit with D’s A to Creatively Maine, as D’s mother (sister-in-law L) nicely gave her a birthday gift of a  “universal gift card” (cash) to spend there.

More swimming.

More knitting.

Sounds like a fun summer day, doesn’t it?


Oops! Time flew again…   14 comments

A week slips by…

There was knitting:


Cut that yarn chicken game pretty close – what you see is what was left of the big skein.  I do have a mini skein I am saving for another project, so it would not have been the end of the earth if I needed a bit more, but I am glad I didn’t.  This is the merino/cashmere I spun up a few weeks ago. The pattern is Seathwaite from the Fringe Association, and I love it.  The variegated colors don’t hide the cables as much in real life as they do in this photo, and it fits me perfectly.  The yarn softened up with knitting, who knew?  And I am sure it will even more with washing and wearing.

And spinning:


I finished the Broadbill plied with black, got two skeins, total weight about 5.75 ounces, yardage is just over 350.  The second skein seems to be a bit more like fingering weight than the first, but what amazed me was how much black I had left over!  I first spun two ounces, and plied it with the first two ounces of Broadbill.  I had a lot of black left over (according to my scale the first skein weight 2.625 ounces, which means I only used .625 of the black!) so I just joined the next ounce or so with the leftovers until I filled a bobbin, and plied the second two ounces of Broadbill.  I had a decent amount left on the bobbin (this time, the finished yarn weight about 3.125 ounces, which means I used 1.125 ounces of the black), and I had about an ounce unspun, so I changed my mind about chain plying the leftovers, and just started spinning the remaining ounce on a new bobbin.  I plied those together last night, and got about 70 yards of a nice THIN yarn.  I also chain plied the last bit and got about 15 yards of that. I plied this black stuff a lot tighter than any I have done yet, because I think I am under-plying, in general.  This was almost kinky, but when I washed it, it settle down a  bit. The end result is that I have a nice amount of the broadbill yarn with which to make a hat and hopefully some mitts, and I have a good amount of black to use with it, or with which to do something else entirely.  I am building a collection of mini-skeins, unintentionally – I can’t quite fit 4 oz of plied yarn onto a bobbin, no matter how hard I work at it.  So, I am collecting mini-skeins for a future project – odd scarf?  Crazy quilt afghan?  Who knows.

Last night I started spinning the 1 ounce of BFL roving I dyed a few weeks ago – I love the colors, reminds me of Monet’s paintings.  And I love how differently it is coming out, compared to skeins of yarn I dyed at the same time.  It is really teaching my what I can do with colors and spinning, and how to tell how things will come out.  Colors blend more when they are dyed before spinning.  There is purple on this bobbin that was NOT there on the roving. :-) It is also letting me spin VERY skinny!!! And pretty evenly!!!

So, my week!

Friday, A had the day off and I took a half day off. It was hideously hot – close to 90 at our house! Rarely does it get that hot there, thanks to ocean breezes wafting up the river.  And about 110 percent humidity.  We need scuba gear to breathe. So naturally, we did all errands. First up was PO, bottle return, dump, and we stopped for take-out “lupper”.  We made the mistake of going home to eat, and neither of us had the oomph to go back out to the grocery store.  :-)  I went for a swim, and floated around until I felt quite human.  After that, we decided we WOULD go to the grocery store, and were pleasantly surprised at how few people were there – need to remember supper time on Friday is the time to go in summer!  It was annoying, however, that I nearly froze in the store, having gotten quite cool in the pool, adding AC to that had me shivering before we left. A was not, and so wanted to stay in the coolness as long as possible.  She thought I was crazy. :-)

Saturday I spent 8 hours at the shop in Bucksport.  It was a hot and humid day, and the “AC” there is a window that opens onto the water, a door that opens to the street and several fans.  It was inadequate.  But I didn’t have to move very often, so that was good.  Customers were steady in the morning, and sparse in the afternoon, but I still had 19 sales, and that was a good thing!  Sonja took lots of things to the Celtic Festival, hers, mine and others, and I think had a decent day. Sunday was the second day for her at the festival, though I didn’t cover the shop, her daughters did.  It POURED rain all morning, I haven’t heard yet how everyone did.

I do know that on Saturday she sold one of my bracelets, so that was nice to hear.

Sunday A and I spent inside puttering and looking out side thinking and often saying “Really? Still pouring?” There were things I wanted to do outside like grass clipping and gardening and clearing the tangle of large things where the lilacs are trying to grow swim as much as I wanted as often as I wanted that just didn’t happen.

I got some pool time in after work Saturday, and late Sunday when it stopped storming and the sun went behind the trees.  This whole avoid-the-sun thing tends to drive me nuts. When it is hot out, I either can’t use the pool or yard, or go out so covered up I might as well stay inside.

Since then, I have been working.  Very sad way to spend time (still remembering that I am lucky to have the job, yes.)

Oh, Monday, I got a hot tip from WEBS that my yarn was at the PO, so I stopped and picked it up.  Not too terribly exciting, the Baby Ull is for baby hats to sell.  The blue is for Maine Blueberry hats (sold the blueberry baby hat this weekend!), the red is for red and white striped hats and booties (we have a famous red and white striped lighthouse) but I got a lot of white so I could do some dying to get the colors I wanted that they didn’t have.  Or to mess about with colors.  You choose.


I finally decided I needed to buy more lace weight yarn to knit the High Country Crescent shawl.(Or maybe the Biophilia?)  High Country has been on my list since I won the pattern, and I have loved Biophilia since I saw it the first time.  I felt like I needed some thing different than what I had in my lace weight stash.  I perused the Tosh selection for hours, thinking about what colors I wear, what color shawls I already have.  I decided I needed something fairly neutral, maybe a tonal gray?  Definitely not blue, aqua, teal.  I already have quite a few shawls, as well as a substantial stash ready to be knit in those colors. I finally chose Madeline Tosh Prairie in Cloud Dweller, which I recall is a soft, tonal gray, just like I planned. I resisted Worn Denim, and Spectrum, which I LOVE (I have socks in that one, how cool to have socks and shawl match?) and all the other luscious blues and greens.  Cousteau anyone?  Oh my.

So you can imagine my surprise when I opened the package to find this:


Just can’t stop buying those pretty blues. :-)

One thing we did NOT do this weekend was watch the news.  Monday morning listening to the radio on the way to work was like getting sucker punched in the stomach over and over. Is the whole world going to hell?  Listening to the news all week as not changed my mind on this front. CAN NOT WAIT UNTIL NOVEMBER 9 when it is over and done with.


What I am up to this week   21 comments

I got my first payment from the shop and promptly went onto the lovely web and ordered some more yarn.  Several colors (and loads of white for dying) of soft baby ull for little things, and some Madeleine Tosh Prairie for a shawl.  Because I just can’t get enough lace shawl knitting. :-) I did save a bit for some wool purchases later this summer.  I am set for a little while on that front, though. And I hope to have more income from the shop this summer, so I have been cruising the internet scoping things out.

This weekend I will actually be WORKING at the shop, because the wonderful Sonja has the big Celtic Festival in Belfast (Maine, not Ireland) to attend.  In return for me covering the shop, she will take some of my product to the festival, and not charge me the commission for anything she sells there or that sells in the shop this week.  So, it could be a big payday, or it could just be a favor.  Time will tell.  She was quick to suggest that I bring some knitting with me.  She doesn’t know me well enough to know that I don’t need to be told that, lol.

That means that tomorrow evening I will head there after work to learn the ropes of her system. The shop has no AC – but it has a beautiful window onto the bay which opens, so I hope the breeze is coming up the river while I am there, to keep it cool.  I suspect that window and the front door are all the “AC” the place has.

We are getting a few days of hot weather, I am so glad the pool is ready for me!  I went in as soon as I got home from work, it felt really good. I can’t remember what it was like before pools came into my life, except that I hated the really hot weather and now I don’t mind it AS much.

There has been a bit of crafting happening – but things that take time – so the pictures aren’t too exciting.  There is this hat:


made with my handspun!  I am knitting it in the Seathwaite pattern which seems appropriate as the colorway is sea breeze.  I am loving the stripes so far.  Hope they work well with the cables. :-)

Here is the Reyna Shawl I have been working on – it is my travel piece, so is slow going.


And here is a baby hat and matching booties – this will go to the store this week, hopefully be sold quickly!


The spinning I am working on is this lovely Romney braid in the color way Broad Bill.  It is a bit of a challenge to me – first thing, it feels a little bit slippery, and while fluffy, I really have to watch the drafting or it breaks because it is too thin.


But I think I have that part figured out.  The other thing is that the super Debbie at Purple Fleece suggested I chain ply it so the colors don’t muddy.  But I was not feeling confident enough to do that after I had been spinning it for a bit, so I decided to spin up some of her solid black corriedale and ply it with that.



I really like how the first skein came out – the colors seem to pop (no photos of that yet.)  And I was amazed that after spinning two ounces of each color and plying, I had a whole lot of the black leftover.  That photo above is what’s leftover. That means I have been spinning it consistently thin!  Very exciting to me.  I will finish the colored spinning soon and then do all the black.  What black I have left I will ply to make thin black yarn.  Not sure what exactly I will do with it, but I will come up with something.  Not that I like knitting with thin black yarn, but I will get over it.:-)

Last weekend I got out some dyes and the book Mom gave me and messed about with mini skeins and a bit of leftover roving.  The results are…interesting.  And bright! But I got the idea.  I was hurrying a bit because A bought strawberries to make jam, so needed the kitchen to be food safe. I think I will do more of it, and try more of the things mentioned in the book.  And I can’t wait to see how the roving spins up.  It is about an ounce, so it won’t make a whole lot, but it will be good practice and I will be able to see how the whole thing works together.


Lastly in the crafting world – it turns out I sold one of my little collages at the shop, so I am making a few more to bring over – they are nothing fancy, just made with bits and scraps and shells and sea glass, but they are fun to make, and I am pleased someone liked them.  The prices are low, in part because I want to have things at different price points and in part because they take very little in the way of materials and thought to put together. But I don’t want to be making thousands of them, so this might be it for a while. First stage is to paint the little canvases… then go away for a day while they dry.  Maybe these take more time than I thought. :-)


Outdoors things are growing, whether I wanted them to or not.  The garlic is doing REALLY well this year, very exciting!  And the tomatoes survived the short drought and have blossoms.  Carrots are slowly popping up, and the lettuce is re-thinking it’s decision to grow.  Strawberries are coming slowly, a few a day, so they are just snacks to the gardener.  Weeds and grasses are doing exceedingly well, and I will have to get out and weed whack in the next few weeks.  So glad we have no lawn, but the straggly mess does look better when it gets cut. Daylilies here and there are blooming, and blackberries are taking over the world, but at least they are bearing fruit – which I might get before the birds do – or not. Birds are chowing down on bird seed, but I see the cherries are ripening on the trees, so I expect birds will switch over to those soon enough. We had a tiny baby deer and her mama and sister in the field the last few days, I wish she would eat what I want her to eat. 😦 At least since the baby came along, they have not come as close to the house in their grazing.

So that’s it in my world this week – not all about yarn, but it’s always there in the background, doncha know?



Blue and Green   16 comments

In 2007 when almost everyone died (seriously, they did – our extended family lost ten people, A even lost her cat), and my mom asked me if there was anything I wanted from Gram and Grampa’s home, I said “I would love the painting of Block Island that hung in the dining room.”

I love the painting for a few reasons, not the least of which it happens to be a landscape which shows the area where my other grandmother’s cottage is, so it is doubly special to me.


And it is in my favorite colors, blue and green. I don’t love the frame, but it does remind me of Gram, it is very much in her taste. I believe that they picked this up when they were over there for a visit when I was a wee baby, so the painting is about 1000 years old.

I have it hanging in our living room, on the opposite wall from my sister’s beautiful painting of the Orkney sky.

When I sit in our new chairs, I am looking right at it.

That’s where I sit to spin.  (You had to know this was about yarn, right?)

It did not take me long to realize that this spin and this painting are the same colors.  No wonder I love this fiber!

This spin went REALLY fast, and I am quite pleased with the resulting yarn.  It is merino/cashmere, I got about 200 yards from the 4 ounce braid.  I think I won’t knit with it, but instead will just pet it and maybe hang it on the wall next to the painting.  Won’t A love that? :-)





Posted July 9, 2016 by salpal1 in what I am making, What I love

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Why I don’t knit afghans   26 comments

The other day in a Ravelry group, people were talking about knitting afghans, and how many they had or had not knit.  I mentioned that I have crocheted many, but only knit one.  And I said it was too long a tale for the forum, but that I might tell it here to share with the group.

So here it is -the tale of my one beautiful chevron blanket. It gets a gruesome, so if you are squeamish, brace yourself.

I knit it using  soft blue, soft purple, and natural wools, in a very traditional chevron stripe.  I remember it was eight rows per color (loads of ends!) and very pretty.

Back in 1983 and 1984 I worked on that thing for MONTHS, thinking I would never finish it. Yes, I am sure of the year, you will see why.

I had my own apartment in those days, shared with two roommates.  No washer included, so I used to manage to visit family with dirty laundry on a regular basis.  :-)  That February my grandfather died, and so I got in the habit of visiting my grandmother once a week or so for supper and laundry and knitting.  She is the one who taught me to knit, and she loved to see my slow progress.

On April 25, I made point to plan to go to see her, it was my grandfather’s birthday, so I am sure of the date. I thought she could use a distraction.

I packed up laundry, soap, knitting, change of (clean) clothes and headed to the car.  Knitting and purse on the front seat, then I leaned over (it was a 2 door car) to put the laundry into the back seat. As I did, the box of soap powder started to fall.  I lunged for it, and you might guess what happened.

I slipped on the seat and landed on my knitting.

I dropped the soap, and muttering, levered myself up.  That’s when I realized the knitting was now attached to my leg.  Yup, I fell on the needle and drove it through the blanket and into my thigh. Didn’t feel it at first, but then I did!

What to do? I thought about pulling it out, but just thinking about it made me nearly pass out, so I sat back and started blowing the horn.

I lived in a suburban neighborhood, houses and apartments all around.  My roommates weren’t home, but the neighbors below us and over the garage were.

No one came.

OK.  Next idea.  I knew I could not get upstairs, so I maneuvered my self out of the car, bent over to hold the bag of knitting (the blanket was nearly complete) and hobbled/hopped to my neighbor’s door. I couldn’t get up her steps, but I got myself  across them to I could reach the door bell, and I rang it.  and rang it.  and rang it.

She pulled that door open with a “WHAT DO YOU WANT!?”

I asked her if she would mind calling me an ambulance as I had this knitting stuck in my leg.  I have to say she was great.  She did that, told them what little she knew, then called my grandmother for me so I could tell her I would not be over for dinner, then we tracked down my dad to meet me at the hospital.  Meanwhile, the ambulance and a fire engine and what seemed like a whole lot of people arrived. They all were expecting a little old lady, they said, not a silly 20 something girl.  After all, it was a knitting accident, right?

They could not see the wound because there was this entire blanket in the way, so naturally, they decided to cut it (the blanket) off. I was thrilled to see it was the empty needle that was the culprit, not the one with the knitting on it.

You know that made me more hysterical.  I refused to let them, and they humored me.  They got these giant metal cutting loppers, and cut the end off the needle and carefully slipped the blanket off the needle, gave it to my neighbor for safekeeping.

Then they carted me to the hospital, where after x-rays determined that I had not hit the bone and many jokes about cowboys and Indians and playing with John Wayne, they yanked the thing out and sent me home with my dad. A few days on crutches and elevated and I would be fine.

I made him stop back at the apartment to thank the neighbor and get some things before we went back to his house for the night. Most importantly, get the knitting!  I finished knitting that blanket, but was so sick of it by then that I never did weave in the ends.  It was for my bed, and I decided that fringe on one side of a blanket was a cool thing.

That blanket is long gone, but I will always remember it.  And I crochet afghans because it is too dangerous to knit them.






Posted July 7, 2016 by salpal1 in what I am thinking about

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Salpal has been VERY busy this week   21 comments

Sort of hard to believe there isn’t much to show for it.

First off, when I got home from Monhegan, A and I had a “down” day – we were slugs.  I was tired from playing, she was tired from working.  Then, Sunday she had to work, so I did the errands and some spinning. I also tagged all my knitted inventory (43 items) to deliver to the pop up shop.  That took longer than you would think because they have a new, cool-but-fussy tag for us to use. And I had to update my inventory sheet.

Then the week hit us.  I have a HUGE grant due on 7/7 which I have been trying very hard to get done by 7/1 so I could not think about it over the weekend.

Monday I dropped the inventory off after work, then fiddled with my spinning wheel to relax.

Tuesday after work I did my volunteer gig.

Wednesday I worked from home because we were expecting a furniture delivery – finally have the new chairs we bought when we got the mattress in April.  Aren’t they pretty?



Both cats love them, so they already get covered up with fleece blankets to keep them from becoming black and furry. But anyway, working from home is bad, I don’t like doing it.  Either I am too easily distracted, or, in this case, I work too hard and don’t stop at quitting time.

Thursday was the pop-up  shop open house after work, so I went over there with my good friend Crimson Crow.  We had a nice visit, and I was able to forgot about impending deadlines for a while. And the shop looked great – now to sell everything!

That night as A and I were getting ready for bed, A mentioned that we had no hot water, her shower was cold that morning.  Not sure why it was kept quiet so long… That made Friday morning kind of fun – certainly washing up made us very alert – brrr.  Couldn’t get it to reset, so A called the plumber when she got to work. They came, determined that they needed to order a part, started it up again, and A took a hot shower as soon as she got home.  It is out again, so there will be no hot showers here before Tuesday.  Good it isn’t cold out.  Lukewarm showers are OK on hot days.

The day ended with the grant closer to done but not quite there. 😦

Friday night A and I went over to Mom’s for dinner with them.  J is still there, so he cooked us a fabulous meal. Always good to see people and have dinner cooked.  :-)  We made a plan for them to stop over today while they are out doing a bit of sight seeing. That was the last we will see of J this summer – he heads back to St. Louis on Tuesday. He might come back for Thanksgiving, but if not, we won’t see him again until next summer.

That meant we got up early today and cleaned up a bit, so now we are chilling – chores done, two more days of long weekend left. Life is good.

What do you mean you aren’t hearing about much spinning and knitting?  Believe me, I know!

I did spin every morning before I got ready for work. I worked on my “You Red My Mind” braid, which I have kept pretty quiet about, I know.  I finished up the first braid, and got a second one as I wanted more yardage.  So I worked on that everyday. I finished up the first half of the second braid earlier this week, and started the next and last half. At first I tried to do it the same as the first batch, but I decided to just spin it, and hope I haven’t improved so much that the two skeins can’t be knit in one garment. I think I am OK on that, although I can see this one is thinner and more uniform than the last.  This is going to be a nice warm red shawl for me to wear this winter. :-)

you-red-my-mind-2-bobbinsI finished the singles up this morning and plied it.  I did get more yardage than the first braid, but I think the weight is pretty close.    I worked HARD to cram it all onto one bobbin so I would get one longer skein, and it worked, although I don’t think I could fit another inch. :-)you-red-my-mnd-2-plied

I also finished the Hap for Harriet that I have been carting around since February.  I blocked it Wednesday morning, and love it!  I knew I would, and while I worked on it a long time, that is because I only worked on it when I was out and about, not at home, so it went slowly.

I’ll be glad to have it this winter!

And these are on the needles now – a spiral baby hat and a Reyna shawl – both not getting much love this week. 😦

Once everyone left this afternoon, I got out the next spinning project.  It is a merino cashmere braid from Purple Fleece named “sea breeze”

I split the braid in half cross wise, and then took each half and pulled it apart in half again.  I split the resulting 4 sections into 8 long pieces each, and am just spinning them as is, pre-drafting and working hard to get thin even singles.  Here’s todays progress – 4 of the lengths done. The colors are a little faded in all of these shots, the colors are really intense.  The turquoise is nice and bright. The greens are sort of sea glass color. The blue is just perfect. Together they are like a summer sea.


So now you know what I will be doing this weekend!

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