It’s been a long time!

Sorry to be away so long, I have no excuse.  Just lazy!

Last week I wound up the TDF (tour de fleece, for you non-spinners).  I was pretty sure I was done on Friday, finished all the Three Waters Farm fiber I had, and as I was on their team, what we spun was to be at least 50% their fiber.  But I was having such fun spinning that I just kept going and spun one more braid, not TWF, so not in my official count, but still fun and pretty. I tried a traditional 4 ply.  Never did that before. It is an interesting yarn, quite firm and dense.

So here is all my spinning.  I figured up the yardage, and it is about .9 miles spun in just about three weeks.

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And the blue that I finished up on Sunday – sorry for the poorly lit photo – not sure what the phone was doing with colors…the blues are brighter than that, and the counter is gray. Go figure.

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I picked out a few more braids to spin up, but haven’t started them, time to get back to knitting.  Durrow has been sadly neglected, so I am plugging away at it.  I love how the medium purple is looking with the navy.  Can’t wait to link it to the squares done with the darker purple.

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That is really is for crafting since I have seen you last.  finished but haven’t blocked the frieze cowl.  I missed my window of dry days this week, we are back to the muggies now.

I have been trying to work in the yard a bit here and there, but the weather has been so awful to work with, I just do five minutes some times and can’t see for the sweat pouring off my head.  I did manage to get this to happen, with very little effort on my part – put the plant on the porch and water it now and then, and voila – a bright summery miracle!

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I planted sweet peas and morning glories beneath the trellis that you can see, and one on the other side of the porch.  On this side, that gets morning and mid day sun, they are literally 2 inches high and haven’t budged in weeks.  I water them, truly I do.

On the other side of the porch they did the same thing until about a week ago, now they are growing like mad, and have started climbing the trellis.  That side gets afternoon sun.  I am hopeful for some pretty, sweet smelling flowers there soon.

In front, I am working on clearing weeds and putting down soil and mulch along the outside of the new path.  I have literally gotten about 4 feet done. Many more feet to go.  Sigh.

The pool effort comes along.  I feel like I am finally making progress, though there is still al lot of sediment in the bottom that stirs up when ever it is touched, I think the amount is being reduced each time I get in and stir it up, them run the filter. I do that about twice a week, though with the weather so awful and hot again, I might do it more this week. It should be clean by September!  I am definitely getting the bigger, more powerful filter and vacuum for next year.

Other than that, I have been working. A lot again this week, enough that with only 2 hours of vacation time, I have Friday completely off.  I love when that happens, as you know! A is taking classes all week, culminating with a certification test Friday, so she is studying all of her waking hours.  We are not very exciting!

Last weekend we had a visit from nephew D and his wife A, they have recently relocated from Colorado to Vermont, and are taking advantage of the summer good weather to come to Maine fairly often to visit family while the traveling is easy. He is a teacher, so has been enjoying his summer vacation. It was great to see them and hear more about their lives and work.

This weekend looks to be a nice one – Whorls and Purls on Saturday, and then we are meeting Mom and B for supper on Saturday night.  We will go to a local seafood place and they will all have lobster.  I am not sure if I will have crabs or scallops, but I won’t have lobster, that is for sure.  🙂

And with Friday off, you know you get a bit of a list!

  • Laundry  – I will get it rolling, I am sure A will wind up finishing it Sunday.
  • Bathrooms – the darned things need cleaning every week and it is annoying.
  • Grocery shopping – I usually go on Saturday after knitting, but it has been really awful there the past few weeks, so I am hoping that Friday will be better. Maybe the morning?
  • Hair cut if there is no line.
  • Post office – while I am out, what is one more stop?
  • As much front yard gardening as I can get done before the sun is overhead and too hot.

That should be enough chores to get me hot and cranky, so I will jump in the pool to cool off, then come inside for knitting and spinning on the porch for the rest of the day. I want to make good progress on the Durrow square, and then start spinning the next thing. I should go upstairs and start cleaning and organizing in the craft room, but not sure I will have the energy.  Between work and the heat, I find that we are both just drained and don’t have a lot of energy for anything that doesn’t absolutely have to be done.  But maybe I will do as my friend Deb suggests and tackle one small section at a time.

Also, I have to think of something fun and celebratory to do for A after her test. She will be tired, it is 8 hours long, so the celebration can’t require expending energy.  Maybe I will bake her a cake or something.  Got any good ideas?

What are you guys doing to celebrate summer this weekend?

 

 

3…2…1… and we’re back!

Here we are looking at another weekend already!  I love how the weeks fly when I only work 4 days.  This will be hard to get over when five day weeks return next week, but it is worth it.

This week I took Friday off so that the bugman could come and eliminate the ants.  Rememberr I called him last Friday?  Well, this week he is coming between 9-11.  I decided to just take the day off.  So glad I have lots of vacation time stored up so I can do this kind of thing.

That means I will get up and dressed at the usual time.  A has to go see a client, so she will be out of the house most of the day.  That gives me loads of time to putter about and play with fiber.

My list is pretty standard, I think, this week.

  • SPIN! It is still TDF (Tour de Fleece), and I have been spinning as much as I can each day.  Somedays that is not much, but I think I can finish off the second bobbin of this spin and start plying. It is foggy fall morning from Three Waters Farm, and is destined to be knit up with the tree bark colorway I finished spinning last week.  This one is BFL /silk.  My next spin will be half Three Water Farm and half Purple Fleece.  And will be kind of amazing.  But I will share that with you when I finish this one!  NO getting ahead of myself. Though this photo shows only one bobbin full, I am about halfway to filling the second one.

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  • Knit.  Although I am focused on spinning, I have been making progress in small bits on my frieze cowl.  It is definitely potato chip knitting, hard to put down.  I already have yarn for another one.  This is Plymouth Galway, by the way.IMG_3035[1]
  • Garden.  Though the pathway is complete, I want to put a few pavers down at the start of it, to hopefully kep the nice pea gravel away from the glacial messy gravel that is the driveway.  I also wan tto start creating the beds on the ouside of the path.  Don’t have anything much to put in them, but I think it will look nicer with the pile of dirt and old blue tarp gone.  And if I am going to do that, I might as well clear out the junky volunteers and put down the good dirt and mulch.  Then next year I can move things into it and expand it.
  • Pool.  The pool guys came, and said I can upgrade the filter, yeah!  But not this year, as there is no pool budget at the moment.  So this year I have to keep on stirring it up and letting the filter run, and changing it when it clogs, as it does quickly with all the sediment I stir up. That means getting in it, which it makes sense to do AFTER the gardening, right?
  • Change the bed, change out the towels, start the weekend laundry.
  • Clean the bathrooms.
  • Not sure if I will go out, but if I do, I will go to the PO, and possibly the grocery store while i am out.
  • Oh, and I will let the bug man in when he arrives and follow him around.  And ask him how we get what ever is bowling with acorns in our bedroom ceiling all night OUT once and for all.

I think that this will fill up my day, and I will wind up in the afternoon in front of the spinning wheel catching up with season one of Victoria. It’s a little bit anticlimatic, as I watched season two already.  And spoiler alert – I knew before the show ever started that she would, in fact, marry Albert.  But I still like watching it.  Learning a lot about early Victorian times in England.  Afghanistan was an issue even then.  What kind of people can survive in a place where there is near constant war for more than  200 years? Yikes.

What are you doing this fine Friday?

 

Here it is Friday again…where does the time go?

Last weekend was lost to the couch, and this week is not a whole lot better – work and home, a bit of spinning or knitting and then early to bed.

But this weekend promises to be better!

Tomorrow I will go to Whorls and Purls, first time in a few weeks.  I can’t wait to see the ladies! Lots has happened to us all, and we need to catch up.

Sunday, some of those same ladies and I are going to Maine Fiber Frolic. I was feeling badly about this on a few levels – not really having spare money… not spending the time at home with A.  I was thinking of skipping W and P this week, but A said I should go to both things.  It seems that she remembered that I asked for the bookcases in the loft to be finished for my birthday.  She is running short on time, and thinks it would be good to have me out of the house two days in a row.

To the point that she even came up with a modest budget for me for the Frolic.

You don’t need to tell me twice!

This week I worked on the handspun sweater and have at last gotten back to where I was before I ripped it all out.  The sleeves are essentially done, though I saved the actual finishing of them until I can try it all on and see how long I really want them.  I think longer than the pattern calls for. So now I am working on the body, and I figure though it will be pretty easy, it is a lot of stockinette, and it will take a while to finish.

I also worked a bit at a few meetings on the sock I started at Niece C the younger’s graduation – I like how it is coming out, though I was thinking it would be striped… my feet are too wide, and so stripes turn into spirals.

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Especially if I keep stopping to spin!  I spun this Romney up this week – in just a couple of hours! It is this month’s roving of the month from Purple Fleece, Mandala. I will ply it tonight or tomorrow morning.  It is much thicker than I usually spin, but I wanted a thick yarn from this colorway so I can make a warm hat.  This one will be a traditional two ply.

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Then I started this spin – the color looks nothing like this shot, it is a browninsh gray.  Polwarth/silk blend, I am going for skinny as I can, also two ply, and I have a complementary bfl silk blend that I want to spin the same way, so I get some seriously good yardage, possibly for a shawl, but maybe, it there is enough, a vest?

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That is it on the crafting front.  Can’t get much done when I was in bed by 7 more than one night this week!

That’s more like it!

My SIL went home on Tuesday, to everyone’s relief.  We were a bit nervous that she would not be able to handle it, but so far, all is well.  Another ten days and she gets that cast off, and then, we hope, begins rehabbing her ankles with USE.

Since then, we have put the house back together, mostly, washed TONS of sheets, and every pillowcase we own, it seems.  We just have to return her bed to her spare room – it fits in the truck, but it keeps raining (a good thing, really!) so it stays in our spare room, and the regular furniture that goes there remains in our living room.

I learned a lot about myself this month.

It is good I am not a nurse.  It is good I am able to live in a house that provides me with enough space to have my OWN space where I can go be grumpy when people overwhelm me. It is good that knitting calms me.

I don’t like my routines disrupted.

I don’t like worrying about money.  I don’t like when plans get thrown out the window with no plans to replace them. I don’t like coming home to people who expect meals to get made immediately, and I don’t like coming home to tons of dirty dishes.  A tried her best, but it was a losing battle.  It is amazing how one more person in the house can create this chaos in our eating and cleaning routine!

In point of fact, I was quite a cranky bitch a good part of the last month.

Now, as things return to normal, I wonder what I can do to prevent reacting that way should this need for us to care give ever arises again.

I haven’t come up with anything just yet.

But I am extremely appreciative of what I do have.  And I am appreciative of the fact that A is now able to work on her own business as we planned she would a month ago (she had quit her job and was working out her notice when the accident happened.  So we had a few weeks of no income from her as she was not able to do her own work and take care of her sister.) She will have a rough few weeks working to hit some deadlines, but it can be done.

I even made lasagna yesterday, and am THRILLED that it will last for a couple of nights worth of meals!


I finished plying a big batch of the combo spin.  And I knit all sorts of little fiddly things.




That is more like it!

 

ANOTHER secret fiber project

I am sorry about this, but I am going to blather on about fiber and not be able to show you anything for MONTHS.

I mentioned that some of us who get the Purple Fleece’s Roving of the month are participating in a challenge with the October fleece (which Debbie SO NICELY let us have early!)

The challenge is in two parts.

1.) Spin the 4 ounce braid with NOTHING ADDED in a way that is new to us, or that we haven’t done in a long time.  In other words, get out of our comfort zone. Do this without sharing until the big reveal (in January).

2.) Then, knit up something with the yarn, and keep that a secret, too, until the next big reveal, likely in April or May!

So, I have the fiber, and I love it.  It is a blend of targhee, silk, and bamboo.  Spinning this at all will be new to me, I haven’t spun with bamboo before!  Nor targhee, though I have some in stash.

Before I saw the braid, I was thinking of spinning it as a gradient, then chain plying it.  My chain plying still leaves a GREAT DEAL to be desired, so this would meet the challenge rules.

But now that I have seen it, and fallen in love with the gorgeous soft colors and silkiness of it, I think I won’t do either of those things. So what will I do?  Well, of course, I can’t tell you that.  But I can tell you that I spent the evening reading and rereading my two knitting books, Yarn-i-tec-ture and The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs. There are several yarns in there that I want to make, OF COURSE.  But for the first time, I was really thinking about the end product that I will reveal next spring.  I could spin a bunch of different yarns that would make good socks.  But do I want SILK and BAMBOO socks?  That does not seem the best use of this lovely fiber.  So (here’s a clue) no hawser for me yet. And probably not a 4 ply cable, though that also sounds fun, this doesn’t seem the right fiber for that.

And we can’t add anything, so I think this won’t be a boucle, though I do want to spin one someday. Maybe with the mohair I have in my stash…

I did narrow it down to a couple of possibilities, and so now I have to think about how I will handle the color.  Separate them so each ply is different?  Spin them end to end and see what happens?  Mix it up and make it random?  The possibilities are endless.

I do have a few ideas of the type of garment I want to knit, but until I see the final yarn, the weight and the yardage, I won’t really be able to decide, will I?

And you, poor folk, will have to wait so long, and read about me working on something I can’t share details or photos of.  I feel your pain.

Meanwhile, here is what I worked on over the past couple of weeks, and did get finished, mostly for the craft sale or to fill some orders.

I am feeling like I need color on my craft fair table table – I seem to have loads of neutral hats in inventory.   So this first one, I put in the Community Caring bin at the purple Fleece.  I really was just testing the pattern, and now I know how to do it, I will likely make some brighter ones to sell.


 

 

A semblance of order

After the big bang, we have settled down into something of a routine, and we have managed to recapture bits of our old routine that we liked or needed.

The ankles seem to be doing well, a trip to the surgeon on today will confirm this, we all hope.  There is not much pain now, so boredom is setting in – fewer pain pills to help sleep the days and nights away!

A is doing the lion’s share of responding to beck and call, and that is diminishing as time goes on.  But none of the three of us can wait until she can use the walker by herself, so we don’t all need to attend every change of position or room, if you know what I mean.

I did feel like I could and should go to Whorls and Purls on Saturday, it was good for everyone involved, lol.  So I had a long afternoon of knitting and chatting and there was apple pie and chocolate.  Just what the doctor ordered for THIS patient.  🙂

I managed a little spinning early both weekend mornings.  Still plugging away on that 36 ounces of a spin I started in July.  I took about 6 weeks off, but now am back into it. I would like to get this set of bobbins done by Saturday, not sure I will make it, but it will be close.  Then I think I will only need to fill the bobbins one more time and it will be done.


My reason for wanting to clear this section off the wheel is that we are starting a spinning/knitting challenge at the Purple Fleece, and we get our fiber on Saturday, which is a few weeks earlier than I had planned.  🙂 The challenge is to take a 4 ounce braid of Purple Fleece Roving of the month for October, and spin it in a way that is new to us, or that we haven’t done in a while – ie, not our usual spin. Then, bring that yarn in January, and have it pose for a glamour shot. Next step is to then knit something with that yarn, and have that done by April for a big reveal.  There are no prizes, other than a new skill and something pretty all made up.  But we are doing it as a community, and one of the members will see if she can pull it all into an article that gets published.  So it will be sort of fun.  It was the idea of a different member as a challenge to us, and it rapidly grew from there.  It will be fun to see how it all comes out.

But to participate, I need to empty the wheel first.  🙂

Knitting wise, I feel like I have lots going on and not much got done this week.  🙂  I did knit almost all of a pair of booties, but lost at yarn chicken.  So I ripped them out and will start over.  At least now I know exactly the yardage I need for those. 😦  I have a hat and a shawl on the needles as well.  And I started the October sock (which will match the September sock.) I finished the Rainbow Warrior shawl – well, the knitting.  It hasn’t been blocked yet, but when I have time to do that I will, and will share it – it is really bright and cheerful!  But it will take a long time to pin out all the picots on the edge, and I am not sure when I will have that kind of time all in one chunk again. So loads of little projects on the needles to be picked up and dropped as necessary. And it is necessary. That quiet little voice could call for help at any time.

 

Now THIS will be a weekend!

After working so hard last Saturday that it was hard to move on Sunday but we did, we are both looking forward to this weekend.  The weather, of course, having been beautiful all week won’t be this weekend, but that is OK.

A plans to do her annual strawberry jam making extravaganza.  I leave her to it. I prefer jelly (all those seeds get in my teeth) and I don’t eat a lot of jelly, so it is far easier if I just get out of the way and let her make jam. That will take her all weekend, and she will do quarts and quarts of berries.  Fresh strawberries and some frozen raspberries. Yum.

While she is doing that, I plan to continue the yard work, but at a slower pace.  I picked up a lot of mulch, and need more.  I also have to haul dirt in the wagon from the front of the house to the back where I was working, and put that down, then mulch that.  On the advice of a good friend, I am going to put some newspaper down between soil and mulch, to help keep the weeds down until I plant there – likely next year. I probably won’t get to it this weekend, but I need to keep weeding where J made such a good start, so I can put soil and mulch on the rest of the front garden.  And yes, it occurred to me to not weed it, but put newspaper there as well.  Right now that is not my plan, but it might become my plan if the work is too slow and back breaking.

But that is for mornings only.  Saturday I intend to go to Whorls and Purls, which I missed last week.  We are all spinning for an unofficial Tour de Fleece.  But I expect I will be close to plying at that point, and if so, I won’t bring my spinning over, I will just bring knitting.  I have enough of that to manage to keep me busy! The wheel I ply on is all set up in the craft room, and I don’t feel like hauling it up and down stairs, it is rather bulky.  If I am still working on that third bobbin (or by miracle have already plyed and so am ready to start again) I will bring my new small wheel and some fiber and work on that.

Sunday mid-day is a Ravelry gathering in my town!  Woot Woot!  I plan to bring knitting to that, as well as something for the potluck lunch.  That will be fun, even if I see half the people on Saturday.  🙂

Monday there is a potluck lunch thing at work, so Sunday evening will be spent fixing something for that.  I am thinking a tossed salad, but not sure.  Might do my mini salad bar so people can have what they want in their salad and not what they don’t.

I have been doing well on the Whole 30 this month, and Tuesday is day 30!!!! I plan to eat all the things on Wednesday.    Wish some of these potlucks were next weekend.  🙂

I promised you some more photos of the yard work we got done – here you go!

Here’s what mom got done, and another shot of it after I mulched tonight. This was blackberry thicket burying the roses, and she trimmed the trees so we can walk around the deck.

Here is a photo of what J did, with mulch added.

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And while they were doing that, i dug out this bed. Still have to add soil and mulch, and some sort of edging.

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And because you know I can’t stand to leave without a little fiber photo or two, here is my sock, coming along.  The flash of pink is the waste yarn where the heel will go, the socks are just blue.

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And here is a spinning update – this is bobbin two, nearly full

IMG_1846Which, if you recall, gets plyed with this:

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and an as yet unspun third ply.

 

It should be interesting.  🙂

 

 

what weekend?

This weekend flew by.  A said to me a few minutes ago “well, this must have been the shortest weekend on record.”

I guess that is what happens when you work a perfectly crazy week, and then work hard on the weekend as well. That is what she did.

Saturday my step brother J came over, bringing along with him Mom and B, all geared up to work in the yard.  I still have more after photos to take, but the transformation is amazing.  Of course, there is much more work to be done, but what has been done gives me hope and energy to carry on.

Here is a little taste:

Front of house before J spent 6 or 7 hours at hard labor:

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and after:

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there is still more edging to be done, and weeding, and dirt added, then everything mulched, but I feel like I can do that in spurts this summer.

Mom worked on this:

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And I need to get a better after photo, her work was equally impressive, but hard to photograph.

I worked on this:

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and was too tired to walk back there to get a photograph, but I will do that for you soon. I thought we were moving a bush back there, but we didn’t, so I will amend the soil and mulch it to keep the weeds down.  Next year I will put flowers in there.

While we did all of that, A and B got our old lawnmower repaired and running so we could give that to a family member  who just got a new house with tons of lawn.  Our goal is to have NO lawn, so we don’t need it.  B also helped set all that edging and showed me how to do it so I can finish the job.

By three, mom and I were beat, so we went for a swim, A and B settled in the living room to cool off and we all waited for J to cry uncle, which he finally did just before 5.  Here he is all cleaned up and ready to go for his lobster roll supper.  He doesn’t even look tired! But he looks proud!  The amazing thing is that he wants to come back next summer and do this for two days!

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In other news:

This weekend saw the start of the Tour de Fleece – fiber’s answer to the Tour d France.  I was all ready and waiting weeks ago. Fiber prepped, bobbins empty.  Let’s go!

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I started early Saturday morning before everyone arrived, and did some spinning after they left.

 

Here’s where I was at the end of Day 1:

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This is going to be a sweater quantity and then some – just tons of yarn in a wild medley of blues, greens and purples with some pinks thrown in.

Today I spun in the morning again, and after a little road trip we took.  I finished the day looking like this.  (Sorry I had to use a flash in the low light.

Finished filling the first bobbin, then started the second one, which has very little pink but lots of aqua, green and blue with some purple.

I expect progress will slow down now because I do have to go to work tomorrow  Sigh.

Which gets us right back to where we started.  this was a very short weekend, and had a secret road trip in it that I can’t share with you yet. Soon, though, soon.

So tomorrow is work, but then we get a day off for the 4th.  we will head over to Moms, J wants to cook us a nice holiday meal.  That’s right, his other great love is cooking.  He really might be the perfect houseguest.  I know Mom loves having him come stay for a few weeks each summer.  🙂

And in case you are wondering abut the knitting.  Though I tried, nothing got finished before Saturday, except those red socks!  The vest did grow a lot, and I started the next pair of socks, crazy blue ones. Sorry about the bad phone shot, I will get you a better one soon.

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I hope you had a nice weekend that seemed longer to you!

Another short post

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!

 

Not my birthday

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!