Archive for the ‘What I love’ Category

I am not posting this until I have photos   21 comments

So who knows how old this news will be by the time I hit “publish”!

I have not been doing anything new or dramatic, but I do feel like small amounts of consistent attention is resulting in progress that shows.

In the yard, I have the back bed all ready to settle in and await some fall and spring planting. I want to put in some sweet peas next spring to offer a bit of shade on the porch, and some oriental poppies for their amazing color.  And I think I still want a dwarf lilac in this bed, but I don’t think I want to move the one I have, which means I should get another one, right?

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In front, I have been working on it a bit at a time, and I worked last night until I ran out of mulch.  Tonight I will get another ten bags, which MIGHT be enough for what is left. Not sure I have enough newspaper, but I can always buy a few weekend papers, right?  I have figured out what I want in this bed, but it might not get it this year.  I want some delphiniums, daylilies of different colors, hollyhocks near the porch, and maybe some oriental poppies.  I am not sure how I will do this, as in where to put the things that go dormant so the garden doesn’t look awful when they go by… maybe just have the day lilies interspersed among everything? The hollyhocks I can grow from seed, the rest I will purchase plants, so it might take a few years before I have everything I need.

The pile of dirt still looms, even though I have taken many wagon loads of it to other places.  Need to get it all used up and covered before that darned crabgrass takes it over and makes it impossible to move.

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It might mean that I actually work on the far future plan of turning this

into a garden space. My plan was to cut it way back this fall, cover with heavy plastic or really thick paper, and mulch, and let it sit for a LONG time – like maybe a year.  I don’t trust blackberries and sweet ferns to not come right back. So maybe I will put this soil down under the paper and mulch before I cover it up.  It can’t hurt, and it will get the mountain out of the front of the house.  Of course, it will be a lot of work… seems like a fall job.  Which means actually weeding the pile of dirt this summer.  Ye gods.

In the house things are moving along.  I spin at least a little, and often a lot, every day.

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I aim to be ready to ply my second set of bobbins for the big spin no later than Saturday, and when I do that, I will be more than 1/3 of the way through this project.  I thought I would be farther along by now, but I am not, and so what? It won’t go bad.  I just have to persevere and it will happen.  Then I can knit myself a sweater with this lovely stuff. That keeps me spinning away.  It helps that each bobbin is so different from the others.  I think if I was doing this much of all one colorway, it would be hard to stay interested.

Knitting – I decided that doing a little on all my projects was not working for the part of me that likes to see things complete, so I am focusing on one thing at a time.

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First up is the handspun vest, I think I mentioned it in an earlier post.  Even though some days I might only do a row, I try to more than that, and so I am quite close to done.  I have a couple more inches up to the shoulders, then it is finished!  I am thinking this will be done this weekend, since I will take it to Whorls and Purls on Saturday.

Once the vest is done, I will attack the Moon and Sky shawl, as I want to wear it and I want to cast on my next shawl.  In fact, I want to cast on two of them, but I only let myself do one at a time.  This rule does not keep me from swatching for and planning for the shawl after that, just doesn’t let me cast it on. So I will be swatching and planning soon, lol.

The blue striped socks also come along.  I finished up the first sock (except the heel) on Saturday, and cast on the second sock this week.

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Not much lunch time knitting this week, so progress is slow.  But I have until the end of August to finish this pair, and still stay on track for the year.  I don’t see a problem with that.

The pool has been a godsend this week, it is so hot and muggy!

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I have a funny little after work routine now – when I get home, I change into my bathing suit, add sneakers and a hat, do as much gardening as I can stand, water the garden, rinse myself off, shed sneakers and hop in the pool.  Luckily, it hasn’t been buggy!  I am glad neighbors can’t see this crazy lady gardening in her swimsuit, lol.

That means I don’t get in the house to think about knitting or spinning or supper until close to seven , which is not normal for me!  I like to be settled in and knitting or spinning by then, not just wondering what is for supper.  🙂  But summer is a short season, and I am motivated to do this yard work, so as long as I am motivated, I will do this routine.  I hope it pays off with a pretty garden next summer!

A has had a busy several weeks now, with no let up in sight.  This week she actually is away overnight for two nights, which makes everything feel sort of off for both of us.  I will be glad when she gets home! Maybe she will remind me to come in the house sooner so I am not up so late at night knitting and spinning.  🙂

Here’s a pretty daylily I didn’t remember I had, I thought the tall ones were all orange!

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A bit of a quiet week ahead   20 comments

A is traveling this week, 4 days in southern Maine.  But it’s Wednesday that she is in the office, so it means only two nights away from home.  Crazy amount of driving though.

Last night the cats could NOT BELIEVE they were stuck with me, and they moped about.  This morning, Allie was quite vocal in her dismay, woke me up at 4 am and basically followed me about the house all morning crying at me.  Zumba got up for breakfast (she is still Zumba after all) and then went back to bed.  No bird watching, no time on the deck.

But I enjoyed the quiet time (discounting Allie, of course) and slept with the windows and door wide open, spent the evening out on the porch knitting. I managed to finish the June sock, making a pair!

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I started the July sock because I have a couple of meetings and appointments this week, and need something small to knit on.  And since I will be focused on spinning in July, I need a head start on the sock.  🙂

 

The other thing that is happening coming up soon is that my step brother J is coming to help with yard work on Saturday.  I am so appreciative, I can’t believe he would give up a day of his vacation to work in our yard.  But since he is, I ordered three yard of garden soil with compost that was delivered last night,  and I am going to pick out some edging stones this week.  I am hopeful that we can get the front bed with all the lovely-but-growing-too-large shrubs under control and looking good. We will get mulch this week, too, so hopefully the good work will stay good.  🙂

 

I showed you the pink weigela last week, here is the darker one – which they call red, but it isn’t.  More like hot pink. Just COVERED in blossoms, bees and hummingbirds.

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I just love these flowering shrubs, and plan to stick to the part of my garden plan that says shrubs and mulch instead of lawn.  I just need to get some soil (these are actually growing like this in GRAVEL) and mulch in place.  I plan to fill in the gaps with daylilies, they look so pretty against all this pink. I have some, but they would prefer soil as well. It will be a lot of work, and I will miss Whorls and Purls (unless it rains, then we will do all of this on Sunday) but it will be so worth it to have some good strong help.

 

A will be home tonight, in time to get to bed for an early start tomorrow.  I know this girl will be as glad to see her as I am.

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It never ceases to amaze me how a big cat like Zumba (15 pounds, not much fur) can make herself so small when she wants to.

 

Hope you all have a quiet week, too.

Some things to share   18 comments

Hello! I hope you are having a good start to your week.

 

I had a great weekend, in part because we are “Trump-free” on weekends, which means we avoid all news.  It makes Mondays hard as we get hit with it all at once, but we are strong and rested and can take it.  Except when it is so grim as London’s news is.  That is hard to take no matter the day.  I just do not understand the darkness that is coming out of every crack these days.

My heart goes out to all who are impacted by the violence and hatred. Oh, and to anyone who was counting on us for sane, reasonable, responsible behavior on climate change.  That man does not represent even half of this country, he just happens to think he is in charge.

It makes sharing all my fun pretties seem shallow, and perhaps it is.  But I think we need soft pretty things in life and knitting and spinning bring me calmness, like meditating does to others. So I am going to try to distract you from news of the world and bring you to my happy place.

This weekend was not perfect, weather-wise.  But as our local weather fool likes to say, it was not a complete washout, either. Saturday was gray and gloomy and sprinkly, except when the sun popped out in the middle of the day for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, then it was a bit warm and humid. But as that didn’t last very long, it wasn’t uncomfortable.  And I got quite practiced at putting on the coat, taking off the coat, putting on the coat, etc.

As planned, I met up with some of the Whorls and Purls gang and we went off to the Maine Fiber Frolic,  I packed (actually, emptied) my bags early, and found this when I got ready to leave:

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Allie was all cuddled onto my day pack, as if I would take her to a fair.  🙂

I went with a decent amount of cash, knowing it would last if I was careful.  And knowing I could easily spend ten times that amount without even thinking about it.  We had a good plan – split up (or not) and wander the fair, coming back every hour to meet in front of the ice cream booth to make sure we were all good, talk about what was next.  So I wandered the stalls and booths, scoping out what I wanted to buy.  In the end, I was pretty pleased with the fact that I only got one ice cream at lunch, and this lovely assortment:

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The burgundy is one of my favorite sock yarns, Caper Sock.  It is dyed locally, in Blue Hill by String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn and is a merino cashmere blend.  It makes the softest socks!  I actually had this on my list (yup, I try to have a list when I head out, or it is too hard to choose).  Next to it is the purple-blue of Linda’s Soft and Silky sock yarn – 50-50 merino and silk, hand dyed in Denmark Maine by Pine Star Studio.  I bought a skein of this last year and knit a shawl for sale, which I loved and almost didn’t put up for sale, hoped it wouldn’t sell and of course it sold instantly. This one will be for me. And I would never dream of using this luxurious yarn for socks.  It is just too elegant to go into my sneakers. And no, it was not on my list.

Then there are the beads.  Last year I went with snips of yarns planned for shawls and came away with some beautiful beads. This year I wasn’t that organized, but I knew what yarn I was thinking about for knitting shawls . Next year I will do the snips thing, it was so much easier. All the beads are beautiful!  What I managed to buy this year will be useful, and the gold beads are the same ones I am using in my beaded yarn, so I know I will like them (and I still haven’t knit the shawl they were originally intended for.) The purple MIGHT go with the lovely blue angora/silk I got at Webs last month, time will tell.  And the big clear beads could show up anyplace! All from the Bead Biz, she is online, though I haven’t checked out her website in a long time, she says she has upgraded her photos and so I will check it out.

That’s it – the whole budget spent.  I went home with 41 cents after I bought a late day lemonade (and of course, lunch!)

Fortunately (or unfortunately) I did not find THIS vendor until I had depleted my funds – but look at all the great fiber my friends got, for $2 an ounce!  We spent a good chunk of the afternoon guiding people over to this booth for deals.

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All of this fun, and I was home in time for supper, even after stopping at the grocery store on the way, to do the week’s shopping (I have to do some chores around the house, after all!)

A and stepdad tried to play golf, but it was raining, so they shot a bucket of balls at the driving range instead.  Since she got home early, she cleaned the house.  She is a keeper, for sure! So I came home to a sparkling house, the groceries were all bought and set for the week, and that left us free to relax on Sunday. Life is good!

We did go up to Brewer on Sunday for lunch with A’s sisters, niece, great niece, and great-nephew and their cousin Sunday, and we had a nice visit, got fun cards and presents, and were home in the afternoon – we didn’t even try to think of chores and errands we could do in “the big city” while we were there.

I gave the pool some more attention, and then settled in front of my wheel determined to finish this spin.  And I did.  I did not fuss when I came to a knot that could not be undone, I just cut the silk and called it good.

For two months (to the day) you have been patient with me as I worked from this

to this:

Just look at that silk shimmer and shine! And those beads glisten.  🙂  I got just under 600 yards of the beaded, and then I finished plying after the knot with no beads, and got about 130 yards of plain.

Plenty for a shawl, and then some!

It is all washed and hanging to dry (which it never will in this weather)  and I now know why beaded yarn is so expensive to buy.  This stuff takes forever to make.  I am glad I did it and I don’t expect to do it again any time soon. At least not with this method.  There is another way to do it, I wonder if it is faster?  Hmmmm.

 

This  week I will clean and oil the old wheel and carry her upstairs (where she will be my plying wheel), then prep some fiber to start a spin on the new wheel!!!  I can hardly wait.  But I won’t start a big spin for a few days, even though I have one in mind.  I have some mini batts that I want to spin up so I get used to the new wheel without worrying about the quality of the yarn. I will also focus on my knitting, which has suffered the past few weeks as I worked so diligently on this yarn.

And there is a yard that deserves demands attention. And the pool needs me to be brave and get IN it to scrub it.  I’d really like the sun to be out when I do that, and the temperature of the air to be higher than that of the water.  As the water is in the low 60’s that doesn’t seem too ridiculous a thought.  Maybe next week?

 

 

 

 

Weekend plans   18 comments

For a short week, this sure has seemed long!  In part because I have been anticipating the weekend SO MUCH.  I am going to one of my favorite events on Saturday – the Maine Fiber Frolic.  I just love this fair.  It is focused on all things fiber, and all the pretty things that go along with that – beads and buttons and spinning wheels and on and on. Plus really good ice cream. It’s somehow related, I am not arguing.

And I am going with some of the ladies from Whorls and Purls, whom I haven’t seen in a MONTH due to all the other things I did in May, and the fact that Purple Fleece is now closed for a vacation until next week.

A and I had a discussion about money for this event, I was worried I would get some pushback on wanting more cash for more yarn, but she apparently would like a little extra cash for golf this week, so we reached an amicable, profitable decision.  🙂

So my feet are just dancing to get through this week!

As if Saturday wasn’t enough, Sunday we are meeting up with A’s sisters and niece and her family to celebrate Sister S’s and my birthdays with a lunch in Bangor. I love birthday parties, especially when they are for me! And

Somewhere in the middle of all the revelry, I will do some chores and a teeny bit of housework.  A has already promised to do the laundry this weekend, yea!  She is going off to play some golf with my stepdad on Saturday, so not sure how this will work, but I bet it means chores will happen Friday night.

I intend to spin my little heart out on the beaded yarn.  I am pretty sure I am more than half way through, perhaps even two thirds.  As I don’t know what will run out first – yarn or beads, it is sort of hard to predict where the end is, but I think I have less than half the yarn left to go.  I really love the way it is coming out, but I am ready for it to be done.  I am not letting myself use the new spinning wheel until this is done, and it is killing me to see it sitting there.  🙂  I know how easy it would be to not finish this because I get involved in a new spin, so I am holding strong.  Because I want this yarn; I have big plans for it.  🙂

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I am still knitting, but not in any great chunks of time – started the second red sock last week.  And the sweater is finally looking right and slowly growing.  I think I will really like having it next winter.

The shawl and the vest are poking along, not getting lots of attention because of all the evening spinning, but still very much in the forefront of the knitting work.  I have added another row of beads on the shawl and I definitely like these beads for this project.  I wasn’t sure they would stand out enough, but with more of them on it, I can see now that they are fine. This shawl is going to be a really nice one, and the lace pattern is so nice and easy, the repeats are easy to memorize.

The vest is up to the waist, so now I am certain I won’t run out of yarn, I shortened the length enough – yeah!  I like the little pattern on the front band and the lacey part at the hem doesn’t get as lost as I thought it might in the busy fabric.

So all is good on the crafting front!

The pool and yard – well, not so much.  IT KEEPS RAINING!  And it’s COLD. I have managed to get all the leaves out of the pool, and the chemicals in, but it needs me to get in and really scrub it and stir up the winter grime so the filter can do it’s thing. And it is COLD in that pool! And the gardens need attention, the grass needs trimming.  We don’t actually have any lawn but patches of green among the gravel and I like to keep them a little bit short. Not happening yet.

No seeds planted yet, though the garlic and asparagus are doing very well!  Thank the good lord for perennials and fall plantings.

I don’t expect to make much progress on this front this weekend, but it definitely deserves my attention.

And I found out that when my stepbrother comes to Maine for his annual visit, he wants to come over and work in our yard for a day!!!!  I have about 6 years worth of landscaping work that needs doing, so I have to really think about where that day of hard work can best be used.  And I have a couple of weeks to decide.  🙂

That’s about it – have a good weekend – and check back in a few days to see what I got at the Fiber Frolic!

 

 

 

 

Another short post   16 comments

Not a lot to write, but photos say a thousand words, right?

A visit to my brother C:

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Two days spent slowly spinning:

 

Cars are shiny and clean, beaded yarn is becoming a reality (and is much farther along than this photo, but still only about halfway done.)

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

 

More birds   10 comments

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I found this fellow having a snack when I got home from work the other night.  He didn’t seem to bothered by me driving up and getting out of the car, then getting back in the car to fish out the phone and snap a photo.

He only objected slightly when I approached the door and went in, but he came right back. The goldfinch was a slight bit more nervous than the woodpecker, but maybe because he thought the woodpecker would finish off all the suet!

Posted May 18, 2017 by salpal1 in what I am thinking about, What I love

Tagged with ,

Not my birthday   25 comments

but this happened.

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Due to schedules and budgets and things, my new spinning wheel arrived a month early.  I just finished waxing it and putting it together last night. I have to adjust the drive train (I need a third hand to do that) and then it will be ready to test out!

I still have copper and gold on the old wheel, so I will finish that up before I start a real spin on this one, but I have some little batts I have been saving to learn the new wheel. Plus Ashford nicely sent a few balls of fluff to practice with. Then I expect to be flying high!

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