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April 2005

Fibery weekend

With a week to go before THE Maryland Sheep & Wool festival, I'm starting to realize that I once again have NO IDEA where, or evn IF anyone is meeting up.  I envision myself once again, as I do, going, wandering and wondering.... WHO.. do I know this person virtually,  would I recognize anyone from those little pics on their blogs if I did?..  are they all meeting somewhere and I just can never figure it out?  So I ask you..   what's up??   Who amongst you are going?   Just askin'.

I am going to the Conecticut Sheep & Wool tomorrow.  It's small and close enough to make the effort.  The Merlin Tree's Hitch Hiker will debut, and I'm going to show my support.   The weather isn't looking very good but it should be fun anyway.  There are several local spin-ins Saturday as well.  Lots of fibery things to do this weekend.

Tonight I see that Steph (you know, the ONE with THE BOOK) will be in Boston.  I raise my hand, I'm a wannabe there.  But 6:30pm, that's almost still rush hour(s)..  not a nice thought. 

Thanks for all the comments offering suggestions as to what to do with unmatched yarns.  Actually, I'm all set.  I was trying to matchit for someone else.  I still have one more skein to bead of my original dyelot.  It should get me where I'm going.  The Charlotte shawl was a good idea.  Thanks, Tamara.


Sometimes, all you can say is what the f*#k  huh?  Dyeing should be an exact science, it is as a matter of fact.  But not here at chez moi..  I wrote the colors down, I even set them aside so that I could repeat the fine experience I had the first time around.  And, after the conversation I had with Paula just the other night, I should remember that I DO know better than to expect the same results.  I'd have to measure precisely, in every way.  I did not do that.  I got what I should have expected... something different.  So, huh!  How do I go back and get what I'm after?? Can I??  Huh?
Remember the old song...  if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with..

what I tried to match..



what I got..


Here's 'Ink'


where in the world..??

I have been patient.  I have alerted everyone I know how to reach of their coming.  I have asked that food be placed outdoors where they can find it as they arrive.  I have hung not one but two feeders in their usual spots, easy to find, one in RI weeks ago, just in case, and a second in the almost artic, the Northeast Kingdom.  I know they don't arrive there until May 7th, but you never know.  They've arrived in Michigan.  That did them alot of good, it snowed nearly half a foot.  But here... where I check everyday.... nada, zip, zilch! Everyday I go to the hummingbird web site, I see the dated dots on the migration charts.. there are dots showing them to be all around me, but NOT HERE!  What's up with this?  There has been a sighting up in Nova Scotia.   That's Canada!!

The Leaf Lace Shawl progresses.  I did the right thing frogging the FBS.  I planned the yarn for this project and am happy with the way its going along.  The yarn is going further than I had expected.  The beads give it a fun sparkle.  And, it's moving right along!

I am adding yarns and colors to my Yarns for Sale page.  Some are replacing yarns I've sold, others are new colors.  Everyday is an inspiration.  I'm also dyeing a two ply, 15-16 wpi merino / silk yarn.  It's the same one that I'm using for the Leaf Lace.  Here's what I added:

Daffodil    Daffodil

Mallard  Mallard

Orchid   Orchid

Atlantic_0425  Atlantic ( this is a 2 ply and a bit brighter)
and soon I'll post one I call 'Ink'.
ps.. I just saw a dot marking a hummer sighting in almost exactly the location I'm sitting in right now.  Do you think they went to the wrong house?



frog it.. frig it..

Maybe it's a sad story, but it's my story and I'm sticking to it.  It began last week.  I was uncovering all those gardens and the poor daffodils and their spring companions I unearthed from all the leaves I had piled on top of the gardens last fall were laid bare.  Actually, by the following day, cold and bare.  I felt a bit guilty in fact.  But... so... anyway, the story of this project... it started with me seeing the leaves and stems all blanched out from the lack of light, being buried all winter.  The stems went from an absolutely eye shocking chartreuse all the way through the green spectrum into blues.  Fantastic.  What did I do, I dyed!  What else?  It's been a winter of color deprivation, the dye pot stored away.  I've learned NOT to do that again.  ON with my story.. I dreamed of making a leaf lace shawl with the colors of the early spring garden, and to bead it, bringing even more light into the yarn and thus the project.  It took me over two hours to bead the first skein.  It's just the amount of time it takes, no learning curve involved here, I've done a second last night and it still took TWO HOURS. 

Spring_leaves_ball    sorry, the light was fading..


The skeins are only 160 yds., 300 beads to a skein.  This is where the plan fell apart.  It seems that I didn't have the Lace Leaf Shawl pattern.  I just thought I did.  Actually, I still think I did, must be in a very safe place.  I really wanted to begin, so I started another Flower Basket Shawl.


I really like this pattern, but it ISN'T WHAT I PLANNED.  Today, Cindy gave me the pattern.  Will I frog?  Yep, just after I finish writing this post, taking the pictures and pouring myself a big glass of wine (or tequila) to soften the blow.

I've been dyeing more of the singles, some to replace colors that I've sold and also new colors.  I've also started to dye some 2 ply, same merino / silk , closer to a dk.  It's the yarn I'm using on the shawl in the picture, the soon to be Leaf Lace.  I'm using a #9 circular and I like the look.  When the yarn dries, I'll take pics and post them tomorrow.

the HitchHiker

Hitchiker  The HitchHiker!!

Keeping this a secret has been pretty , hmmmm, well it wasn't exactly secret, but it was a LONG time in the making,  This little wheel meets all my specs. for the perfect travel wheel.  First, it's light, under 9 lbs..  It will fit in carry on (just in case you're needing / wanting to take a wheel with you on an exotic vacation.  It will also fit on the front floor boards of the passenger side of many small cars... just in case (again) that you are the passenger, and you need / want to spin on the way.   It has a built in lazy kate, can have a right or left side foot (check out the treadle) and has a ratio of 7.1:1.   David Paul, The Merlin Tree (GO THERE NOW, read the rest of this afterward..) my friend, neighbor, and girlfriend's husband..  took it upon himself, to build this fun little wheel.  (We bugged him for years.)  Friday morning, just before we were ready to drive south, he ran one over for me to bring along and show off.  This really is the first one.  There is one very special Connecticut spinner who just happened to be at The Merlin Tree on Thursday, and who also just couldn't leave without one so somehow managed to cajole David into giving her the sample I was supposed to bring along.  So, that means there IS one other one OUT THERE.  And, sight unseen, just from knowing David's work (he also makes a Canadian production type wheel, the Hyacinthe), there are almost a dozen spinners out there who have placed pre show orders. 

The whole weekend went way too fast.  I was busy every minute, but will just mention this one thing and save the rest for Monday or whenever.  Saturday, all day, was the OSKG annual retreat.  Thanks to Judith, hosting us in her home, we had a terrific day.  I'll be shedding carbs for a week, chocolate scones, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate macaroons, chocolate garnished canoli.. then there was the rest of the food.  Good food,good friends, it rained most of the day and no one noticed.   Yep, I took the wheel for everyone to try. 

slow pokin'

Dsc_0192  First sock done.. too bad, I would have enjoyed a pair of them today.  When your feet are a size 9, you should get extra credit points, like a second book report or something.   If I were a size 5, I'd be wearing both of them..

Putting the water rock out on the steps yesterday morning was the kiss of death. This morning, the water is frozen… solid as the rock it’s in. The temperature was 24!!          I don’t want any of you far to the northerners to misunderstand.. that would be Fahrenheit. It’s windy and it’s COLD! Gloves, hats, scarves.. the whole shebang. C put on his insulated jeans before going out in the field to fertilize the trees. Poor Bu wants to be outside so badly she’s curled into a little ball in a sunny spot against the back of the house. I’ll think about you all in NY who will be enjoying those 80 degree temperatures, they mentioned on this mornings news. Me, I have another shot at wearing a hand knit hat. 



It was very disappointing to find that all the blackberries had been ‘trimmed’ to 18”. I did not do this. Eighteen inches was the depth of the snow at the time they were eaten. The moose provided a handy and sort of romantic cause, and deer are always getting a bad rap. However, the evidence was there, all around, and it was the deer. After seeing this, I walked down the hill to the peninsula to check out any bedding areas that they might have used. It seemed like it would be a really handy spot for them, protected in the young balsams. Yep, sure was.. It didn’t take long to cut out what was left of the old dead canes form last year. They were the only things standing, too dry to eat. Every young juicy cane had been eaten or trampled. 

 Several times during the winter I had snow shoed to an area that the otters use when they are in residence. I hadn’t found any signs on my walks and wondered what had happened to them. Found out today.. right where they were supposed to be, piles of fish scales left after the otter scat had washed out in the rains. We just never crossed paths. Quiet neighbors. 


All the red raspberries are thinned and trimmed. It took a couple hours to do the nearly 100 ft. both sides of the rows. Check that off the list. 



Not much fiber stuff, but it was a great day, sunny and warm and we’ve all heard the old adage.. make hay while the sun shines… eh? Tomorrow it should rain.

Moles, voles, & holes

Monday 2:45 pm, we are nearly at ice out. I walk clockwise along the edge of the pond to the first wooded area. In the shadows, ice still comes down the slope into the water. A bit further on, a small ice float is caught in the dead cedars. It’s not out yet. Bu joins me at ponds edge for a cold drink, rites of spring. I’d love to, the thought of all the critters that live at the pond, Beaver Fever.. I hold back.


We move up the hill to the rock garden. I rake as best I can.  Moles, voles and holes… trails criss cross everywhere I work. My garden was fashioned on this steep ledge by digging small holes wherever I could find a soft spot in the rocks. I let the grass stay put around the planted areas to hold the soil from washing down into the pond, a terrible mistake I found out as the years have gone by. The grass haunts me, haunts the garden. True gardeners would never call this haphazard affair a ‘real garden’. Mine are like the rest of my world, like my stash.. they bloom in happy disarray. It will this year also, unless garden elves come to transplant, weed, and put things in order.


I’m off to clean out the raspberry patch… nearly 100 ft. of thorny stems. It’s sunny and dry enough to sit in the field, so this is it.

ice out


If you were patient enough, or had time on your hands instead of spending all day raking out last years garden debris, you could have seen the ice melt out of the pond.  It was melting that quickly.  Check out the early morning and mid afternoon shots.






Taking those pictures was exactly the amount of time I had to spend looking.  At precisely 7 am Bu started clawing at the door and crying to go out.  She knows the rules, we were up late and the door doesn’t open until seven.  Cats tell time very well. (I once had a cat that never failed to arrive in front of the television at 7:20 when his favorite show started.)  C went down to let her out and make noise (we do that in the morning to ‘scare’ away any predators that might be lurking around needing breakfast).  Then, he headed down to the barn to get fruit from one of the freezers.  At 7:05 he returned with the very, very bad news that the small (luckily) freezer had ‘shit the bed’.  Everything was melted, I needed to get right down there and see what could be done.  Hey, I don’t know when it broke, we were gone for weeks, this was bad.  I put up most of our vegetables and loads of berries and apples and such every year.  With my first, partially drunk cup of coffee in hand, I headed down the drive. What a mess.  I salvaged bags of apples and strawberries, and brocolli that were miraculously still partly frozen.  Bags of stuff went into the compost.  I made apple pies, tomorrow I'll sauce the rest.  If it went off weeks ago, fortuately it's been cold.  There are patches of ice still thick on the floor. It's been cold.  Not today, ice out could be by morning at this rate... certainly tomorrow.

I did see a Blue Heron fly in to check for breakfast.  Ducks came and went all day.  I followed moose tracks up the driveway and through our field, same with deer, watched a falcon fly overhead and listened to the hoot of the Barred owl.  Not bad.