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May 2006

odds and ends

All that inclement weather, the past two weeks, kept me looking for indoor projects.  One of which, I had been thinking about for a long time.  Several years ago I bought a pink quartz 'whorl', thinking I'd make a little spindle with it.  If I didn't like the way it spun, I'd turn it into a necklace.  Then, a few weeks ago, Cathy sent me a beautiful little spindle with a jasper whorl.  That got me moving.  I spent some time testing it out, spinning and then Andean plying the singles.  I had to look up the instructions for the Andean Ply.  Seems like I just can't keep that technique in my head.  It is a slick little twisted wrap around your hand that unwraps easily, like a center pull ball if you've executed the wrap correctly.  Luckily it worked like a charm after reading and rereading this tutorial.  The spindle works great, looks great, and is small enough to keep in my bag.  Just in case, you know, I need to sample something.  Just. in. case.
Perhaps I'll need it this weekend at the MA S&W. Who knows. 


I leave you with wishes for a great weekend and a picture of "mess o' shawl". 

somethings like it wet





I am knitting, and knitting, the Adagio.  Instead of more pictures of rumpled silk, I give you these.  Overcast skies give great even light.

Hey, Ruby... those samples, with the tencel and wool... I can't get them out of my head.  Really, beautiful and exciting stuff!! 

joining silk

The Russian Join has been the subject of several very good tutorials elsewhere.  But, as I was ready to join another ball of slipery silk yarn to my Adagio, I thought that I would record my version of this technique.  It is very simple, very easy and with the right size needle and a pair of magnifying glasses, sort of fun.  Here goes...




repeat, threading the needle this time with the yarn you are joining


clip ends, and you're done!


Weather update.... still raining, still freezing (well almost, what do you call the 30's) and the wood stove is STILL cranking!

'J' is for....

When the sun finally peeked through, at the very end of the day, for a full 20 minutes before the next shower ( shower???? how can more rain be called a shower when it has already rained for more than a week and in quantities that are measured in feet??)  whatever, when the sun shown, I ran outdoors to take pictures.  What else?  All week, I’ve been weeding and edging and rescuing plants from other plantings, every chance I get.  After viewing it last evening, I can see that I have barely scratched the surface.





This morning it is 35F... that’s right.  It’s COLD and raw and actually perfect for getting stuff done without black fly.  They like it warmer than this.  They like the sun. Today the shade houses go up.  Like we NEED shade. 

All this complaining about the weather, brings me to this:
J is for “Jollys”


Twenty years ago, I came north, to my first April in Vermont, traipsing with friends and realtors through sodden fields and boot sucking mud, wearing my gortex lined, ankle high, leather Vasque boots.  Everyone I walked with wore more sensible gear, high rubber, shit kicking, barn boots.  The British have their Wellies, Vermont has its own version.  I needed them.  A quick trip to the local general store and I too had a pair.  Mine are Tingleys.  I felt like a kid.  I could wade in water nearly to my knees.  No puddle was too big, I tested them all.  Damn!  Enter again, five years ago this time… I’m in Burlington, at the Gardeners Supply and there are these rubber clogs. They have cork inserts, can be worn with or without socks, have great tread, and are very, very comfortable.  I love my Jollys!  I wear them all year, to run to the barn if the drive is plowed, to garden, to walk in the woods.  I can do a mile or more in complete comfort. 

ps.  The stuff that’s falling from the sky this moring… well, it’s SOLID!  No accumulation expected.


pss.  what can you expect in the cold, and the rain, through a window, into the greyness...?

whatever the weather

When it rains hard, for days on end, I have no phone, no dial tone, nothing..

NO email

NO Bloglines

NO Internet.

Get the picture? The lead in on the noon news was the pretty news talking head person asking the weather man: Does the brighter sky I’m seeing mean sun is on its way? His answer: No, just brighter rain


Before you continue, you might want to get a drink, a tall one.

I’ll post this when the phone man visits, the dial tone returns and I have access again. Whenever.  The weather may be reflected in this post.  Sorry. 

The good thing is that I have been able to get some spinning done. I’ve  had time to poke around looking at what I’ve previously spun and review the projects that I want to use the spun yarn for. First up was the Café Cardi that I posted about a month or so ago. I figure I have plenty of spun Shetland in a sort of light grey oatmeal and some darker brown for the details.


I might blend a bit of the two to create a second color with less remarkable contrast than the brown. Or, maybe I’ll make a tweedy yarn for the accents using a barber pole effect. But, after reviewing the pile of multi wool / mohair I have, and after plying up another three skeins in the past couple days, maybe the Gloria cardi will come first. There’s time to think.


Before the end of the month, before the new trek-a-long starts,  these will be done.


Wendy solved my pattern problem by posting that lovely little 4 row pattern repeat that I’ll use with my #109 Trekking. Problem solved. Just when I was searching for a simple pattern, there at my desk, appears the solution. One more case of “I love the internet”.  (You ready for a drink? How much drier can this post get... it's the weather.)

And Adagio, after counting my repeats, 11 out of 19, I’m wearing thin on this pattern. It may become a shawlette. Maybe even a shawlette with a beaded edge.  For now, it IS good TV knitting and I’m game. I had nearly 280 sts on the Bryspun circ when it finally broke last night. That’s the second Bryspun to snap on me. My LYS replaced the first one. But, I was holding my breathe waiting to see if I’d get through the row, and hoping that I had a second #8 circ. with me. I did. See, I was afraid it would fatigue.


I’ve been there. I do love the bands and the tips on Bryspuns, but the older ones break.. Supposedly they’ve fixed the problem. This was my last old style. I’ll give them another chance.

I need a walk. 


what weather??

More. wet. weather.   All morning I slogged my way through another garden.  I can't remember why I didn't get the gardens cut back last fall.  Big mistake on my part.  Maybe I remembered how easy it was last spring to get them in order, but I had put them to bed properly the autumn before.  I'm paying for my carelessness.  The iris still wear last years rotting leaves.  Soft now, but still far to strong to tear away. Now, with the wet weather, too soggy to cut easily with shears.  The height of the lilies keeps me on my knees pulling last years' maple leaves away with my hands, for fear of ripping this years' new growth with the rake.  At least the weeds pull more easily in sodden soil.  Next, I'll get to my large shade garden.  Now, my gloves are next to the wood stove, drying.

Missing the fun at the NH S&W, though I really AM sorry I missed out, hardly slowed me down.  Saturday I ordered my new to me Fricke 405 carder.  I've been checking out stash and figure I have more than 12 lbs to card.  I need a bigger carder.  I used to always send my stuff out.  But, unless I have loads of one kind, or plan to have many pounds blended,  it just makes sense to do it myself.  I lose far less.  Many times I'd be disappointed to find that I had lost 35% or better.  That's a lot of fiber ( and lanolin.. and dirt).  Besides, carding and blending fibers is sort of fun.  Next time, I'll go electric.  But for now, I have only 12 lbs. waiting... waiting.

The Trek-A-Long starts in two weeks.  Before then, I've decided to get my last Opal pair off the needles.  If the weather sticks with us, I'll wear them this weekend.  Four more inches, including the toe.  Not bad.  And, I'd like to have the Adagio shawl off the needles too.  The Great Lace starts at the same time.  Summer knitting.  Summer fun.

Before all this fun started I had thought I'd spin some Shetland I have in two colors for a sweater.  I realized as I wandered through my projects that I have nearly enough of a lovely wool / mohair from Persimmon Tree spun to knit a sweater.  Now, for a pattern.  It has to be something simple, the yarn has many color variations in it.  I think it was named Autumn Beech.  Any suggestions?  It's too fuzzy to take much of a pattern stitch.  It'll probably knit best on a fairly large needle, maybe 6-9.  And for summer spinning.. I have many pounds of Lincoln roving in a beautiful medium grey.  Perfect for dyeing.  It's a bit rough for my taste.  I'm thinking of following Sara Lamb's promised tutorial on learning to weave.  No pressure, Sara.  It'll be a LONG term project for me.  Summer is busy.  I'll get started on the spinning.  During the summer.


The gangs all here.  Monday, no sooner than I had emailed Norma to ask if her hummers had showed up, a male juevenile flew up to the feeder.  He seems to be the first and maybe the only one here so far.  Odd that it isn't an adult male, they usually are the lead.  This little guy isn't showing a red neck scarf and it isn't a female, somust be a youngish male.  With dawn nearly an hour earlier than in southern NE, the light wakes us by 5 am.  When I went out with the cats first thing this morning a Blue Heron startled and flew off from ponds edge.  A pair of Canadian geese and a pair of Mallards came up to check us out.  Everyone is curious.  After so much quiet, the noisy humans and their cats are back on the pond.  Let's see.... the ravens, if I could speak one bird language, it would be that of the raven.  Talk, talk, chatter, squawk.... loud, raucous.. they never stop.  The Loon is circling and crying, orwhatever loons do.  All day.  Crazy. 

I'm stiff between the shoulder blades today and more gardens need to be edged, weeded and cleared of old growth.  The outhouse needs further cleaning after the racoon  devastation.  I can't figure out how they opened the door, but what a mess!  I'm off.  It'll rain again before too long by the looks of it, and I am already behind.



I started the Adagio shawl on the plane to Pittsburgh (on my way to MDSW).  It is a perfect take-a-long travel project.  Just in case any of you are looking for a lace project for the Amazing Lace, this is easy!  I am loving the silk.  It moves along easily and feels... well like silk, soft and scrunchy.  If the sun EVER decides to grace New England again, I'll get a good shot. 

I'm getting my summer knitting projects lined up.  Two new buttons are in the sidebar.  Thanks to those bloggers for putting these knit-a-longs together, should be fun. 

  • The Amazing Lace: my partner, the Wings of the Swan Shawl, yarn to be decided, soon.
  • Trek Along with Me:  color #109, gifted to me by Jesse in the SP5 round, again, pattern to be decided upon soon.

Sunday afternoon I finally made my way back north.  Good thing.  Everything, except my hummers, is early here.  The plantings and the weeds are huge, not easy for getting the beds cleaned up and ready.  Some of the field hostas are nearly 12".  The forsythia is still blooming, and the daffs are nearly over.  I have Bee Balm at 10".  The black fly are annoying, so far.  If it were warmer, they'd be biting.  I have to work quickly to get things done before they get hungry.  Once they do, I'm undercover.  I don't think there is another insect I hate more. Those itchy bites welt up and last for nearly a month.  After just one morning, my shoulders are reminding me just how out of shape the winter has left me.  When it came time to  load the bent mowing deck into the truck,  well... we clearly needed help.   Again for getting the canoe from the truck roof.  WAY to heavy for me. 

I feel like I'm writting this post short hand, staccato.  That's it, all for now, dial-up is a b*tch!

back in time

I am really behind on my posting.  Maryland has been flogged blogged nearly to death.  Everyone knows who was there, what was bought and how much fun it was.  So.. in a  nutshell:
I arrived (after flying to Pittsburgh Wednesday and driving 3 1/2 hrs Friday, with my sister and the finished Vine Lace Cardi) at the festival in the afternoon to scope out purchases that should be made first thing Saturday and buy what I wanted and could Friday BEFORE the 75,000 +/- crowds descended.  Here's why.


Easy right?  I knew from last year, that by this time this year, a certain Wensleydale breeder (in this country) would probably have a black fleece.  That was my first buy.  I've never processed Wensleydale so only bought a bit to try.  I washed it before getting back on a flight with it and packed it still damp.  Somehow I could NOT bring myself to pack that smelly thing in with my clothes and carry-on seemed out of the question.  As soon as I get the carder free of while Montadale, I'll test spin a bit.  Next stop, the souvenir booth for a bag, a pin, and a set of note cards.  This year's logo knocked my socks off.  Then, down to the Mannings.  I didn't buy anything really special here, some sock yarn and a 32" addi for a magic loop sock.  I tried it out on a 24" I had and figured I'd enjoy the process more with a longer needle.  Then... ah yes!!! Dinner with the exhibitors.  It's not the cold cut picnic food that I love, but the company (and the wagon filled with ice and beer).  Everyone is excited, loads of expectations, and shepards busy getting their animals fair ready beautiful umm... cleaned up.

There have been so many pictures of the crowds and the fiber, that I'll just post these three.  The llama with the mostest:



and one of the prize winning entries in Felting.  Absolutely fantastic!!

P1010416 this should be good for a few new ideas..