Monhegan 2016

 

I have only ever been to Monhegan in June.  While I would like to go some other time of year, there is just so much to love about June on the island.

 

There are the incredible blues of sea and sky.

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The riotous blooming of flowers everywhere!

The quaint beautiful scenes around every bend.

 

The weather-beaten shingle buildings, which to my mind are the perfect shade of gray.  (We stayed in the square cottage to the right, in the photo looking down on the cluster of houses.  Mom and I shared a room which was half the second floor, J had a smaller room on the third floor. It is a perfect spot, right in the center of the island.)

The fun of beach combing in the morning when the tide is low. (That little speck is J finding all the blue sea glass.)

there are beautiful amazing views from every hill top, every curve of the road.

Is it any wonder I can’t keep from going back whenever anyone suggests it or is willing to go with me????

Here are a few phone shots of our view from the cottage

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And one of the view Friday morning when I went up to the Inn to get early coffee.

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We had a wonderful time, although I was heartily sick of hills by the time we left!  I just never get sick of the beauty that is everywhere, and we were SO lucky with the weather.  I have been there when it down poured the whole time, and this was better.  🙂 I did do a bit of knitting when we sat on the porch, and in the evening after supper – finished up one baby hat and started another.  But that is another tale.

Even on an island miles from the main land

We have (spotty) Internet.

Checked the news as soon as I woke this morning.

I am shocked, and wondering what it will mean to the UK, to Europe, to the world.

And can’t help but wonder if it is a foreshadowing of our upcoming election?

This time tomorrow…

I will be ON Monhegan Island.  Mom and I are going over in the morning with my visiting-from-Missouri stepbrother J for a quick trip  – 1 night, 2 days.  It won’t be long enough, but it will be perfect while we are there. A is staying home with cats, stepdad B is staying home with the dog.

I will be packing my bag tonight, and like the old children’s game, in it I will put (not in order of importance):

  • A change of clothes
  • pajamas
  • an extra pair of socks (if there is mud anywhere on that island, I will step in it)
  • a jacket and a hat
  • a toothbrush and toothpaste
  • a book
  • a camera
  • sunscreen
  • phone and phone charger
  • at least two knitting projects

I told A I wasn’t sure if I had room in the day pack for all my toys.  🙂  She pointed out I was only going for one night.  That is why I can fit these toys, I don’t need to bring too many clothes! And if I could bring that spinning wheel, I would.

Here’s a photo from last year to remind you how lucky I will be tomorrow…

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I’ll write more when I get home – there is more fibery goodness to share… plus updates on summer pop-up shop.  But for now I have to get ready for the trip to the blue island. Maybe I will bring those pretty pink socks…

Spinning on my own, or what I did last Sunday

Last Sunday was a funny day, weather-wise.  It wasn’t supposed to be nice, so I was surprised when I got up and it was clear and dry.  I decided to do my half hour of spinning  on the bearded iris braid I got at Fiber Frolic early in the day.  I was really excited to see how the colors would play together.

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I did not break up the length of the braid, but did break the strips into random widths.

Then I sat down to spin.  The wheel was not cooperating, the bobbin tension just didn’t want to play.

Amazingly, I got up and walked away BEFORE I got frustrated with it, and went out and planted some vegetable seeds.

Then I tried again, and it seemed to work fine.  But there were things to do…

Company was coming in the afternoon, so A and I did a bit of cleaning – got the screened porch cleaned up and ready for the season.Then the skies opened, and watered my seeds for me – how very nice!  But we realized it might be too cold to sit outside, so we scrambled and cleaned the house, too.  All the while my brain was wanting to know how those colors would come out.

Fast forward past birthday cake and presents to later in the afternoon when the family had left, and only Crimson Crow (also known as friend B) remained.  I knew I could spin in front of her. And spin I did!

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I was getting thinner yarn than ever before, and the wheel was working so I just kept going.

After B left, A and I settled down to watch a bit of TV and I kept spinning.  Before I knew it, I had two bobbins full, and so decided to go ahead and ply, as it wasn’t quite bed time.  🙂

By bed time, I had this:

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Still a lot of twist, and thick and thin, but I was quite pleased!  It turns out my “thin” yarn is still pretty bulky – about 100 yards in 3.75 ounces.

I soaked it the next day, and by the middle of the week, I had this:

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There are places in this where it is quite nice yarn, and where it isn’t, it isn’t too awful.  I was very pleased that I somehow managed, almost but not quite by accident, to put EXACTLY the same yardage on each bobbin, so there was nothing leftover when I was done plying.This is enough to make a cowl, for sure, and I might use my first skeins as the edges of it, I probably have enough to go around a couple of times at start and finish with it.  We will see.

I learned a lesson with this spin –

I have to pace myself.

5 hours is too long to sit and spin.  My legs and hands were quite sore.

My yarn is better if I don’t do it all at once.

I can’t afford to spin a braid every day.

I am applying this lesson with the next braid, and I think it is paying off.

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This one I broke down into very manageable chunks, and am pre-drafting the heck out of it, determined to get finer yarn.  I work on it about half an hour at a time, and I am about 1/4 of the way through. I am loving all the shades of red, and can’t wait to see what the finished yarn will look like… but I will wait.  I will not spin the whole thing tomorrow.  🙂

An early start

I was up bright and early this morning (thank you, Zumba for the 2 a.m. amble across me, and Allie for throwing up right next to the bed at 4:30.  I got the message and got up.)

Since I had prepped the red corriedale braid last night, I decided to spend half an hour spinning this morning.

I think it looks pretty good so far – not perfectly even, but definitely the thinnest yet.  Since I mostly use fingering and lace weight yarns, I want to be able to spin them.  It is very hard to believe that just a few bits of fur are really all you need to have to make a piece of yarn.

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Maybe I’ll get up early every morning to do bit of spinning.  Or maybe not EVERY morning…

 

 

And in case you were looking for yarn in that last post…

Just want to show you what I got from theKnittingSarah‘s de-stash. 🙂

yum yum yum.

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She MADE that variegated yarn.  With her own two hands and one wheel.  THAT is what I aspire to.

Maine in June is pretty wonderful

There’s this I see across the street every time I leave my drive:

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And this when I pulled into the dooryard after work yesterday:

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(Sorry for the blur – phone plus hastily stopped car doesn’t equal good photography.)

Just look at all those lovely greens, and blue-ish purple!  And that little dab of red that you probably can’t see on my friend the woodpecker. I think that is my hairy friend, but we also have downy around too.  And pileated, but I know that isn’t the pileated fellow, he’s way too big to eat that suet; he has tried, and failed.

I forgot to bring the suet in last night, and it was still there when I left this morning – thank you Mr. Bear.

June in Maine is wonderful, even if a bit chilly this year. (Wearing a lace shawl to work today. Because the air is chilly. Also wearing sandals even though it is chilly, because IT IS FREAKING JUNE PEOPLE.  That’s like summer. In some places, anyway.)

Eat your veggies!

I’ve been promising you pictures of baby veggie hats for a while. Finally took some for you today.

Aren’t they cute? I love the tops the best.

But I got bored knitting with thin cotton for many rows, so I am taking a break. Cast on a Charleston hat and am planning on casting on a Reyna with some fiber frolic yarn. (All for sale so no guilt.) And getting some pretty wool ready to spin.

Life is good.

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Third and final spinning lesson

This week Debbie taught me to ply – two ply, actually – the singles on my bobbin.  That was an adventure, given that the first bobbin was DEFINITELY inconsistent in thickness, twist, everything.  And the resulting yarn was often too thick for the orifice of the wheel, so together we hand wound a lot of it onto the bobbin.

We got two skeins (small bobbins fill up fast with bulky yarn!), one 36 yards, one 22 yards.  I still had quite a bit of nice thin yardage on a single bobbin, more on that later.

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She taught me to wind onto a niddy noddy and calculate my yardage, and then she told me how to set my twist and finish the skeins at home (which I did as soon as I got home).

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Then she took my photo with my two skeins and declared I had graduated!  Here they are – all finished.

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The lesson ended with me spending the very last of my birthday money (in fact, I owe her 42 cents) on two braids of her hand dyed fibers.

This is You Red My Mind, 4 ounces of Corriedale.

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And this is Sea Breeze, 4 ounces of Merino Cashmere.  She said if I do it second, I will be fine.  Yikes! (Color is a bit washed out, it is a pretty saturated braid.)

seabreeze

Check out her offerings of yarn and fiber at www.purplefleece.com, if you are interested.  I was thrilled to finally find some real red!  Of course, now I have to spin it myself, before I can make anything with it, and likely it won’t be socks. I’ll keep searching for that yarn.  🙂 And I have already been reading blogs for how to prep braids for spinning – so many options!

Remember I mentioned that I had a lot of thin yarn on the second bobbin?  I also had about 4 rolags left, so tonight I added them to the yarn on the bobbin, went online and watched a video on how to chain ply.  I decided I could do it, and since there was only one bobbin I could keep track of it without a Lazy Kate.  So, having done that, I can now say that I don’t recommend it, especially with lumpy fuzzy yarn.  But I got through it, and filled a bobbin with real yarn!

Hmmm.  No niddy noddy.  But I do have a yarn swift, and surely that will work.

Yes, it did, and in a pinch, I could do that again, but it doesn’t wind as neatly and evenly as a niddy noddy does.

My third skein is washed and drying (tomato soup this time) and I think it is about 35 yards.  It is much more even yarn than the other two skeins, I’ll show it to you once it is dry.

I have no idea what I will do with all these short lumpy skeins, maybe frame them?

I definitely feel like a novice but I feel like a novice who can do this if I keep practicing.  I also determined that until I get more fiber money, I am going to have to make a Lazy Kate of some sort, and a niddy noddy. But after looking at some she had in her shop, I think I can create some that will work.  Because I would rather save my money for a pair of hand cards.  I think.  But maybe not, maybe some blue and green and purple fiber?

Is it just me?

I seem to ask that a lot!  This time it is about bloggers who disappear for a bit.  At first, I think, I don’t notice.  Then, I think “oh, they are on vacation” or “maybe they are busy.”  But suddenly I realize that it has been a really long time since I saw a post, and I start to worry a bit.

I go on to their blog to make sure I haven’t just been reading their blog and not registering that it is them. (Be quiet.  I am getting older by the minute.)

So then what?  If this was a “real” relationship, I would pick up the phone and call, or stop over with a plate of cookies, or send off an email.

But this isn’t like that.  Some of you, I don’t even know your names, yet I think of you as close friends.  I worry when I don’t hear from you.

Right now there are a few of you. You know who you are.  This isn’t to make you feel guilty for not being in touch, it is to let you know that there are real people out here who care about you and love hearing from you.  I hope you are OK. I am here if you need me.