Archive for September 2016

Common Ground Fair ~or~ No More Drought in Unity Maine   24 comments

We went to the fair as planned.

It rained.

Not the tenth- to a quarter-inch that was predicted.  At least an inch.  Maybe more.

We waited for the train in the rain (I highly recommend the train – it saves so much traffic and parking aggravation, and loads of walking.) Mom was generally happier than she looks in this photo – she hates having photos taken, especially with phones and for no reason.  🙂

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We watched the sheep dog demo in the misty drizzle.  (Love to watch border collies move animals with their eyes.)

sheep-dog-demo

We visited the fiber tents and Wednesday Spinner Tent in a steady rain.

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We ate lunch in torrential rains.

We took refuge in the folk art tent and watched some fun contra dancing.  While I knit (duh) and Mom and niece B shivered from the cold and wet, we all watched niece E dance with abandon.  Sister C and her husband R were visiting the fair for the first time, and they spent most of the day tracking after E as she went on horse-drawn wagon rides, made a beaded bracelet, hand ground buckwheat into flour, explored all the animal barns, and generally had a blast, heedless of the rain.

I didn’t do as much shopping as I normally would, I am not sure I found all the fiber vendors, as we got so cold and wet that we decided to head out before the contra dancing was quite finished (2:30 or so).

But I did get a bit of fiber!  I wanted to learn more about different kinds of spinning, and so I chatted with a few farmers before making my selections.  If it hadn’t been raining, I would have gotten more from some of them, but I didn’t want to carry huge amount of wet fiber around.

I got this – an ounce of Finn from a woman who raises what look like the happiest of sheep. I plan to do a little dying with this and see how dying on a dark base impacts the color.

finn

And this – Angora/wool mix.  I chatted with the woman in this booth about my spinning skills, and asked her how hard Angora is to spin – it’s hard, apparently, and she recommended a blend with wool, so this is angora and merino.  SO SOFT!

ackers-acres

This I found in the Bartlett tent.  Bartlett has a million colors of yarn, all of which I want.

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But then in a bin, I discovered these little batts of unidentified wool (Debbie at the Purple Fleece said it feels like Romney, which is why I need to keep learning.  Her fingers can tell her this?  I need a label written in English.)

bartlett

And that is it.  Everything I bought at the fair. I spent perhaps 50 dollars, including ticket and lunch.  Very unlike me. I blame the rain. The absolutely only good thing about the rain is that it keeps the crowds way down, it was wonderfully uncrowded.  Oh, and I guess it is good that we got the rain, since we are still exceedingly dry around here.

I made up for the lack of yarn spending  on Saturday, when I went to Whorls and Purls at the Purple Fleece.  My roving of the month was waiting for me – inspired by a mushroom!  It just feels like autumn to me.  Here are the front and back, looking a bit different from each other.  I love the little touches of purple.

She also had a whole new batch of gradients that I had not seen before,  I got a two skeins of one of them.  I am not completely sure what I will do with these, but I am thinking maybe a shawl, because I need another one, ROTFL!  But with over 800 yards, I have a lot of options.

aquamarine.jpg

So while it wasn’t what I expected to be showing you, I did manage to get a wide array of fiber-y goodness this weekend.

Not sure if I will go to the fair in the rain again…if it rains on Friday next year, I might give it a miss.   I love the fair, but not the cold September rain.

 

Friday list   7 comments

I took the day off to even out from last week’s crazy hours, and so you get  a Friday list this week. (You lucky thing!)

Oh, such a simple list!

Get up and dressed in a very special fair outfit, meet up with niece B, head off to meet Mom, then go to the (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association)  Common Ground Fair!

It is supposed to be a rainy day, so the very special fair outfit involves shorts, sneakers and warm socks, a t-shirt, sweater or sweatshirt, a raincoat, and a ball cap.  All of which seriously impedes the ability to shop as all these layers fill the day pack when they are not in use!  A towel, shoes, and socks go in the car so that the ride home can be warm and dry.

This year we are going to Thorndike to catch the train to the fair – a ten minute train ride that hopefully saves lots of traffic congestion and walking from distant parking lots. We would rather spend our walking around energy AT the fair, not getting TO the fair. Conveniently, the train drops us off near the flush toilets!  Mom planned this change, can you tell?

Mom and B will want to spend loads of time with the farm animals large and small.  Fortunately, the animal barns are always located fairly near the fiber and yarn tents.  I am excited this year to check out spinning fibers by local dyers.  Still not ready for a whole fleece (haven’t got hand carders!) so I won’t be lugging three bags full of wool around the fair.  Maybe next year? But I do plan to get some pretty, unique yarn and fiber.

And who knows what I will find in the Maine-made artisan tents?  So much great stuff is made here.

We have a new family rule this year for the fair, though, that I have to keep in mind – if you buy it, you carry it.  So maybe I will leave a layer of clothing off so I can carry more. We’ll see how cold it is.

Then there is the food – !  Cousin B will likely be selling his wood-fired pizza, so delicious – and there is so much more.  The food has to be Maine-sourced, which can make an interesting meal – but we harvest crab meat, and grow potatoes, and make maple goodies….I am hungry just thinking about it.  I will take pictures there and pictures of the things I buy, and share them with you as I do each year – it will be like you came with me to the fair – get ready for a fun day!

 

 

 

Back in the saddle   13 comments

At least as far as work goes!  Vacation was such a  slow nice time, we did NOT MUCH after the pellets were stacked, it was hot and humid and we didn’t have to.  We puttered and visited friends, we ate out every single day. There was no cooking on vacation.

Then we went back to work.

This is my work organization’s 50th anniversary, but we are a Community Action Agency, so we have like, you know, no money for fun stuff.

Still, we wanted to celebrate with our partners and especially with our clients. And while we do an annual dinner, most times, clients and community members don’t attend. So we got this great idea (maybe in April?) to have community picnics or barbecues.  We could load up the boss’s pick up truck, drive to different communities, set up, feed people, talk to people it would be great.  The boss got some donations, and we were off.  It sounded like a great idea then!

But of course, nothing is that easy, and the two person committee (me and my coworker of knit-buying fame, B) had about a million unexpected big projects land on our desks. July schedule turned to August, and it got later.  We finally said we had to do it or we could not be outdoors!  So this week we did it, and they were GREAT.  But it was, of course, WAY more work than  we ever imagined.  We did 5 in 5 days, starting last Friday, the fifth one was today.  That’s it, we are done for another 50 years. It will take us that long to recover and forget how much work it was.  We put together a great team, we cooked about a million hot dogs and hamburgers, we traveled all over the two counties.  The picnics were an hour long, but some places, that meant an 8 hour day, once you added in the set up time and drive time.

So it was a crazy week, and it ain’t over yet.  Our third annual tennis tournament fundraiser is Saturday.  I am almost ready for that, and will be by the time I leave Friday night.  But it means a 6 day work week.  Sigh.

There is always knitting and spinning to keep me sane.  🙂

I finished the Oaklet shawl in Tern.  In spite of my apparent inability to count, and having to order more yarn, it came out well, I think!  I would do it again, but pay more attention to my counting, I think.

oaklet-complete

I also finished one bobbin of the Life’s a Beach spin, and started the second one.

 

And I keep knitting on the other three shawls, they are starting to show progress, I think. No new photos of them for you, though.  I also listed lots of hats and things on Etsy that came back from the pop up shop.  Mostly baby things but not all.  Check it out here if you have a mind to. Nothing you haven’t seen before! 

I have a few new things in my brain.  One of the girls who works for us during the school year brought in some “head wraps” she bought at the fair.  They are lovely, knit from hand spun yarn, very cute on her.  She wants me to make her some more.  I looked and it looks pretty easy (famous last words) so I am going to work out a pattern to do that and make her a few of those.  Other girls saw them and want them too, so I may be able to sell a pile of them!  They are like cute hats with no top, not sure of the appeal, but I won’t  argue. I will go and see if the person is selling the pattern, though.  That would be easier, and would feel more ethical to me.

Other things I am looking forward to – supper at Mom’s after the fundraiser on Saturday, and NOTHING planned for Sunday!  Plus, I am taking next Friday off because of working so much this week.  Next weekend is the Common Ground Fair, and I will be heading there with Mom and niece B (owner of the now healthy bunny) so they can look at animals and I can look at yarn and fiber. I can’t wait for that!

Also, next Friday is the day I ship this %&*^#*&^&^  heart event monitor back to Tennessee. I can’t wait to get rid of it.  I hope it is providing useful info to the MDs because it is driving me crazy and I would hate for that to be for naught. It did get me out of lots of hauling and lifting during these picnics, though!

 

 

 

Cottage Craft   15 comments

When I lived further east, Mom and I used to go to St Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick on an irregular basis. But whenever we went, we always went to Cottage Craft. It is located right on the harbor and always had colorful skeins tied to a huge old rope fence. It was bright and cheery and made me want to knit all the colors. The little shop sells hand knits by locals and also locally produced tweeds with matching yarn in a gorgeous array of colors. Two weights of yarn, a one ply and a two ply, so roughly a fingering and worsted. The yarn is a bit rough, with hay bits in it, but that alway seemed to lend authenticity. And with washing and wearing, the garments I have knit with it softened up beautifully.

I have not been in several years  but I have “some” of their yarn in my stash, and have made several sweaters with it.

Lately I have been contemplating a sweater, and so this week with time off I went stash diving. I found five of the Cottage Craft two ply skeins in a color way called “Live Lobster” and just sat and  loved it for a while, in all its blue-ness. It is a dark inky blue with purple undertones, and with bits of teal and red fibers.  But I would be playing yarn chicken if I made a sweater for me with just these 5 skeins, I know.

I kept digging in the stash bins and then I found it. Three quarters of a sweater. Knit with Live Lobster single ply held double. I briefly considered finishing it but then realized it would be way shorter than I want now. Which says something about when I started knitting it. Can you say 90’s cropped sweater? It’s so old it is way, way, way pre-Ravelry.  🙂   I decided to frog it and wash the yarn for reuse.

cable-guy-about-to-be-frogged-for-web

That is one of my major crafting projects this week- carefully pulling it out, winding the yarn into skeins and washing it to get the kink out.

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It is a bit complicated by the fact that I held it double, so the winding means I do two separate skeins at once.  And it is “woolly” wool so it wants to stick to the other piece. But I love the results! In fact it looked so nice that I also washed the 4 unused skeins that were waiting for me to finish up the sweater.

imageWhile I waited for it all to dry, I looked for a pattern. I am determined to knit something from “New England Knits” this year – I think it’s the only 1+1+1 goal I haven’t hit. None of the ones I like call for fingering weight, of course, so I think I will be holding the yarn double again. I have narrowed it down to the Derry raglan pullover or the Augusta cabled cardigan. I do love cables but I think Derry has a slight edge, as I also was thinking I wanted a pullover… And that cute cowl would make the perfect gauge “swatch” a la Elizabeth Zimmerman and her swatch hats.

But I probably won’t completely decide until I swatch and actually cast on. Because you just never know where the yarn will lead you.

And now now I am wondering what I will make with the 5 skeins of two ply I found?  I suppose I could wash it and de-stash it… Or I could go back to St Andrews by the Sea and get a couple of skeins in either red or teal (or both!) and do a pretty color work sweater. That might be the plan. I wonder if Mom is up for a road trip?

reasdy-to-go-for-web

 

(Sadly, I went to look for a link to Cottage Craft to share with you and learned that the building had been sold, was being renovated, and burned to the ground last month.  Not sure what will happen to this wonderful old business.)

Vacation!   11 comments

I can’t tell you how we have waited for this week.  A’s job has its busy season in June, July, and August.  That means no vacation, and only the occasional long weekend.  But usually by September, it slows down.  She also has to book her vacations well in advance so that the office can work around that vacation schedule when setting up all her trainings and software installs.  She is the only trainer/installer, so the calendar is important to the whole company.

As a result, we decide in January when our vacations for the year will be.  And this one always seems to take the longest to get here.  It is tough to go all summer working while everyone else has vacation time.  But then, September finally arrives and we get to relax and enjoy chilling for a whole week.

So what are we doing this week?

Well, since it is Monday, we have already had two days of it – how it flies!

Saturday I spent some time with spinning and knitting in the morning.

This is “Life’s a Beach” from the Purple Fleece, on Falkland.  OMG look how thin I can spin this stuff.  I love it.  I can’t begin to think how much yarn I will get from this.

IMG_1335

My 4 shawls are moving along, and I wanted to get lifelines in, so I did that. And in the process, discovered that I had made an error on the Biophilia.  I looked at it long and hard and decided that while maybe no one else would notice, I would, and so I would need to rip back. Nine rows. About 2500 stitches.  Sigh.  I put it aside.

I also experimented with photos, taking them with camera and phone.

 

Obviously, they get turned about, even though I think I tried to be consistent with orientation.  But the colors and light are also quite different as well. The ones on the left are the phone, the right, the camera.  The sun was up, but still behind trees, so it wasn’t really the best light for this experiment.  I might try it again in brighter light.

I had to pick up everything from the pop up shop at noon time, so after a delicious French toast breakfast made by A, I went into town.  Holiday weekend.  Have to turn left onto Route 1 to get to town.  Ugh.  I waited at least ten minutes before I could make that turn. But I did make it eventually and picked up the things which didn’t sell.  I did not sell a whole lot of anything, but luckily some of what I sold was shawls, so I made enough money to make it worthwhile.  Jewelry sold slowly, but it always has.  I am thinking that it is just not worth making for sale. Even though the pieces are incredible, soft and lustrous…silk and glass beads, how can I go wrong?…most of the patterns I use are from Laura Nelkin and she asked me when I inquired to please not sell them online.  So, I won’t.  But I also won’t knit anymore that aren’t ones I want to keep. And I might off-load some to nieces and cousins this winter if there is no pop-up shop again. Which is still up for debate.  The fabulous Sonja is thinking of a year-round shop in a nearby town, I will have to think long and hard about that, since my things don’t sell fast, they sell slow and steady. But they do well in the winter.  Not sure I want to stock (and pay a fee) all year long.  I’ll think about it.

From the pop-up shop, I went on to Whorls and Purls group at the Purple Fleece, where I spent more than 2 hours frogging the Biophilia mis-knit rows.  Sigh.  I did get to knit a row on the Oaklet, so it wasn’t a total loss.  They have a little froggy who travels with group members – I took him home this week, and he will likely show up in a phot or two over the next few weeks.  (No group this upcoming week, so I get froggy for a spell)

When I got home, I got right to knitting on those 9 rows, of course.  So Saturday was my kind of day!

Sunday, we were mapping out our plan to get 4 tons of pellets (200 40 pound bags) into the cellare and stacked.  With no direction from MDs on what I can and can;t do, A felt I should not lift them, and I felt like what is the point of wearing the monitor if I dont; do my normal things? How will I know what I can and can;t do in teh future?  We were figuring out how to do it so it wasn’t too awful a  chore, but didn’t last all week.  I posted a photo of the pellets on facebook and lo and behold – !  A’s nephew-in-law J spotted it and the next thing we knew he was here with his daughter (niece E the elder) and niece S, and those girls MOVED THE WHOLE 4 TONS INTO THE HOUSE IN ABOUT 2 HOURS. That 2 hours included water breaks after each ton and a lunch break.  They brought them to me, I put them on the ramp to slide down to where J caught them and A moved and stacked them.  J, A, and I could hardly move following this endeavor, but the girls seemed like it was no big deal.

I did pay for this, and learned a lesson – I had an uncomfortable night.  I’ll pace myself better next time.  But what good is the monitor if all I do is sit around for a month?  🙂

So now it is Monday, and we decided to havve a down day, not knowing how we would feel today (we both feel better than expected) and knowing that the tourists are all moving about today.

I’ll spin and knit, and go out back to where I spotted a japanese knotweed that needs to meet it’s demise.  And I will do that last bit with my bathing suit on so I can hop in the pool to cool off.  We are not getting Hermine, but the weather is getting warmer and more tropical as she disturbs the weather pattern.

I’ll also clear off the folding table in the craft room, because we need to lend our 4 tables and 24 folding chairs to work for a series of picnics that will happen at the end of this week and all of next week.  I let the boss know he could pick them up any time.  which means they need to get cleared off and make their way downstairs.

Tomorrow we don’t have any real plans, but that is a day we will likely go out to the dump, grocery store, PO etc, since we didn’t do it this weekend.  And maybe we will think of a little adventure to go on, too.  No telling!

Wednesday is a day for appointments.  I have one for the eye doctor in the morning, and the stove/chimney cleaners are coming around the same time, so A will stay home and deal with them. Not sure what we will do in the afternoon, but it wont; be any close work, as my eyes won;t be able to focus very well.  I wonder if I can spin without looking yet?

Thursday we are going off to visit Crimson Crow and watch a movie with her – looking forward to seeing her again, and we haven’t been to her house in a long time.  She lives in the most amazingly well designed house – not quite a tiny house on wheels but not that much bigger – definitely a very small house! She would deyny this, but I love how organized it is, and how much space she has made forl the tiny touches that make it hers.

No plans right now for the end of the week, but A is wanting to build a simple shelf for niece B, so maybe we will run it up to Bangor, and once we do that, there is no telling what else happens.

 

I’ll leave you with some shots of the mail this week – August’s offering from the Purple Fleece, and the skein of Quince and CO. that I ordered to stave off losing at yarn chicken.  So much fiber in the world, I might need it all.  🙂

Again the phot experiment – the colors are all too dark, I think.

 

These are from the camera:

And these are from the phone:

 

 

I hope the crazy ends soon!   17 comments

It’s been a wild week at work – made more so because I HAVE to get everything done by the time I leave tomorrow.  We are on VACATION next week.  Not going anywhere.  Doing odds and ends around the house and yard.  There will be spinning and knitting.  There will be swimming and perhaps some yard work. There will be sleeping late.

But first I have to finish up everything at work tomorrow.  Then I can think about vacation.

 

Posted September 1, 2016 by salpal1 in what I am thinking about

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