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February 2010

Ten Minutes (for Tuesday)

Maybe not 10 minutes, but in bits of time stolen from each day during the past week, I've manged to clean off many bobbins and in the process, finish over 1800 yds of yarn.

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clockwise from top: white alpaca 3 ply using the navajo ply, charcoal alpaca carded with a cream merino silk blend 2 ply, and a brown wool carded with white merino silk blend 2 ply.

It sure feels good to have those bobbins cleaned off and ready for a new project.  Most of this was sitting around for over a year, maybe two.  Housekeeping of the best sort.  Now to soak them and hang to dry.


the weekend

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Days of gray.  Walks. Visiting with friends.  Brunch.  Plying up bobbins of spun singles that have sat languishing too long.  1200 yd., Onion Soup. Olympics.  Curling, who knew?  Watching this little guy under the bird feeder.

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I know.  I know.


building new tools

It is a slippery slope I'm heading down.  Some of my tools were old and beat up when I got them, and that was a long time ago.  The nails on the raddle were rough and rusty.  The warping board had splinters.  Both were left behind by textile students, unwanted even then.  Free was good.  New is better.

Wednesday I drew out plans for what I wanted.

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We picked out the wood and got to work.

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I sanded the warping board this morning.  By the time I headed back to the shop with a thermos of hot tea, Chris had given both a coat of finish. 

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and the raddle..

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walk with me wednesday..

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Look at this, I’ve found proof.  The seasons are changing again and spring is on the way.  It’ll take months, longer than the groundhog predicted only a couple weeks ago in Punxsutawney.  What can he know of our seasons so far to his north?  It is only the middle of February and here in the Kingdom, the snow will still be hanging around the back of the barn well into May.  But the light is changing; the days are somehow less grey.   Against the snow there is a brightening of color; last year’s new growth is swelling. 

This is the only pussy I found today.  One day of sun would be all they need to pop.

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Last spring, I was miserably disappointed when I found the tall line of willows I’d planted along the dam munched down to nubs by the newcomer beaver.  I'm usually pretty good at dealing with offenders.  Not this one.  He eluded my trap time after time, tripping the door with well placed whips from my lovely willows.   This is the one that got away.  But that is another story.

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The willows are making a comeback.  Weeds that they are, it won’t take long.  I admit that I was  curious to see what would happen to my pollarded plants.  It was something that I was thinking of doing before the beaver beat me to it.


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The shape of what remains is hardly orderly.  If I were truly a gardener, a lover of order, I’d prune them to a respectable form.   I’m intrigued, at least for now, by the wild shapes that have been left behind. 


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With luck, there should be new willows popping up along the shore where the beaver left his tender snacks behind to root.




picking up

where I left off many years ago is another way of saying that I must re-learn skills that I've packed away.  Tools have to be remembered, dusted off, and polished.  I've tried a number of times to start weaving again.  A couple of times, I even dug my loom out from under the piles of yarn and oiled it.  Then, well... who knows what happened, it lead to nothing.  But, over the past year I've spent more and more time at the Slater Mill.  Every visit, I walk by the jumble of looms and that little niggle of a thought starts to tickle again. 

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Two weeks ago, when classes started for the winter session, the cards fell into place.  I'm having a great time.  I wound off a first warp then before the next class (when it would have been put on the loom), I decided to dye another the way I wanted it,  just because I could. 

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Now to start the big dig on my own loom.  There is something very satisfying putting a piece of equipment in order.  I'm looking forward to beginning the process.  It will feel so good to have that corner straightened out, once again productive, instead of a jumble.


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First things first.  For the next six weeks, I'll relearn what I've forgotten.  It isn't an 'instead' skill, it is an 'in addition to', not to push out another.  There's been a lot of spinning going on, too.  I've got the first 600 yards of the 3 ply Shetland that I've been spinning done, except for the soaking.   Just a bit more to spin.

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I'd like to make a sweater that has the fit of the Ravelry yarn ballRhinebeck sweater.
Sort of a jacket. a bit on the boxy side.  Any suggestions?


winter gardens.. light catchers

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I'd thought to show you pictures of the January thaw.  But, there weren't any walks for me the past week, and now it is February.  I've had a terrific cold, perhaps enhanced by the H1N1 flu shot that I got at a free clinic.  I was down for the count by 7:30 that evening.  Coincidence, probably.  None the less, walking in the cold and wind with aches and chills, didn't happen.  The thaw continued without me.  Almost.  Most of the thaw is extra work; raking snow from the roof, chipping away heavier ice packs to free up the walks and drive and pushing away accumulating slush when it finally melts.  One part, my favorite to be sure, is the formation of icicles.  Big, shining, light refracting stalactites of frozen water. I know that icicles and stalactites are different in composition, but they are alike too.   It is an interesting article.  Early in the thaw, as I do every winter if the icicles are large enough, I filled my planters with frozen light catchers. 


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Ten Minutes (for Tuesday)

You've seen them before.  The first is the spindle spun that I posted earlier this week winding onto a felted ball.  After checking my records, I found that it was the last of the llama and silk I bought from Barnswallow Farm.  It was spun on one of my beautiful Ledbetter spindles and plied on the same one.  This was truly a take with project, carried around in my knitting bag and spun bits at a time.  I plied it while taking breaks from my knitting this week. The 200 yd. skein brings the total yardage of this yarn to 640 yd.  That should be plenty for a little shawl.

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alpaca / silk
total yardage: 640 yd. (approx. 2560 yd/lb.)
spindle spun : Ledbetter and Hardy spindles

The second project (my carded Shetland) has been spun in blocks of time that are for the most part hours, not minutes.  However, this week I am spinning in little bits of time, keeping my wheel handy so that I can keep this project going.  I spun almost another bobbin last Saturday at my friend Sue's end of the month Spin In.  Here's what is in the drawer so far, not including an almost full bobbin still on the wheel.  As soon as it's full, I'll ply a skein.  I'm still thinking that it will be a 3 ply yarn.

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With six more weeks of winter predicted to the south (ground hogs in the north wouldn't think of showing their faces yet), there should be plenty of spinning time in my future.