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January 2007

flat out and running..


I'm having a hard time making time.  Waking early and going to bed late haven't done much to help.  In between work, I dye, or maybe I could phrase it better... while I work, I dye..  AND, do laundry. 



If I can focus in the evening, and sit a minute, I've got Evelyn Clark's Trellis on the needles.  Another lovely pattern.  That 7 to 5 stitch thing isn't bad if you can remember to keep your purl row loose enough.  The hardest part is keeping the yo's in the right order when you purl back across on the following row. 

The new Wild Fibers Magazine was in the mail yesterday.  Mine is always late.  The Bison Tracks shawl, another of Evelyn Clark's beauties is in it.  It isn't charted.  I DO charts, written instructions leave me in the dust.   Anyone have it charted out yet?  Twenty rows, makes me sweat thinking about all the possibilities for mistakes in transcribing that one. 

more of nothing


After seeing that ( the little "-" under the "2" is not an underline mark... ) you might think that with all the time I must have indoors, well.. maybe a lot of knitting or spinning was taking place.  You would think.  Instead, the rollaway under the bed containers have had a going through.  So has the blanket chest, the bureau and the closet.  It is a chore I particularly dislike.  It's done.  I have stuff for the Salvation Army, new rags for the shop and room to see what I have.  The feather bed came down from storage above the bedroom and is now where it should be this time of year. 

The cats, well.... they KNOW it is too cold to be outside.  Zach and Sam alternate between games of hide and seek and tag.  Zach spent half the morning ambushing anyone who walked by his "tent".  When I finally went for the camera, he strolled out and lost interest. End of game.  Bu wants nothing to do with any of it. 


There it is.  I continue to tie skeins for dyeing.  I'm an inch from finishing the sleeves of the Everyday Cardi.  Everything beckons,  everything except the outdoors.  Shoveling the deck off this afternoon and carrying in the wood for the night was plenty.

Stay warm.

spinning: an indoor sport

Spinning.  These arctic, below 0F temperatures are the perfect excuse to take on all kinds of indoor activities, like going through my (just a small portion) stash and trying a few things out. I have accumulated a number of one or two ounce balls of assorted rovings.

During the past few days or so, I spun 1.9 oz. of  silk / cashmere on my Hitchhiker with a 14:1.  I thought I was getting more yardage than I actually did, it looked like thread but apparently was not.  It ended up at about 2050 yds / lb as a two ply. 


There is an ounce ball of Corriedale roving that is on the Schacht now. 


It has quite a few nupps, something I've only seen in this quantity in Montedale.


And finally, the first of two ounces of white Icelandic, also on the Schacht.

During the putting away process (something I apparently should NOT do, as it helps me to further scatter an already disorderly mind), I found a cone of lace wt wool (certainly) but I think with silk, in a beautiful bright periwinkle blue.  Immediately, I cast on another of Evelyn Clark's lace patterns, the Trellis Scarf.  I wanted to try out that 7 into 5 cluster. 

walk with me wednesday

It's been two days and three inches of the white stuff since the road was last cleared.  Today's bright sunny weather is the clear high that will bring in the next super low temperatures.  By noon, the high for the day had been reached and the mercury (or whatever determines the readout on my digital thermometer) was falling.  Time for a walk.   Normally, I'd head out into the woods to see who was out and about, tracks and trails, but with my tendon friendly low walking shoes, the woods are out.  Still, unplowed, unblown roads might have signs of somebody.



The tracks were old, a coyote had tracked a deer, but not today.  Squirrels had run along the snowbanks, that was it. 




weekend notes

Friday's storm brought winter, real winter.  The temps since have hovered between 7 above to 10 below.  The wind.... WOW!  The cats have made very short trips outdoors, ears flattened against their heads, making them look like a strange new species of round headed cautious creatures, stopping frequently to lick their feet.  I can't convince them to walk with me, even just to the barn.  The wood stove is cranking.  I spent my time indoors spinning some cashmere and silk (from Foxfire) on the Hitchhiker.  Strange bedfellows, but a perfect choice with the 14:1 ratio, so easy to pick up and move aside when it's time for anything else.  C and I finally got my work station finished.  I measured and marked, he installed the doors and drawers and oh my... I love it.  Today begins a new project, not conducive to having fiber pursuits going at the same time, woodworking makes such a mess, so much dust.  I'll ply.


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My tracks zig zag like the fox, or the squirrel.  I suffer today from yesterday's walk in boots.  I must remember, no pressure, nothing can touch my poor tendons.  Ouch!  But how, do I walk in the snow? 

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walk with me wednesday

The weather finally cleared, and with it came the arrival of winter.  Knowing it was coming, I took advantage of the last (we'll see) of the mild weather, and walked in the rain. 
Today, with the drop in temperature, I was glad I did.



Today, there was bright light, and color!


dyeing and more dyeing.

P1030159I'm dyeing.  I've done more that two dozen dyebaths since Friday afternoon.  I'm into my second 2 gallon watering can of water.  Once the weather turns cold, I have to carry my water to my dyeing area.  The outdoor hoses and tanks have been drained for the winter.  With such little water used, it isn't much of an inconvenience.  Most of the water used leaves as steam, a bit more drips into the pan or onto the floor as I change colors. 

This cold, raw, grey weather is a perfect time to play with color. Sunday I went for a short hike in the woods, sort of looking for inspiration.  It was raining and the colors were muted.  I came home and dyed a 2 ply in greys and browns.  It looked like a sparrow.  I figured that was enough for a theme and went on to dye another resembling swallows.  I'm back to COLORS.  That and something hot to drink.

There is yarn in the pot, and more soaking to be ready for this afternoon.  Maybe there will be time for another short walk, before the really frigid temps settle in.

the tale of two spindles or wings on a stick


A Turkish spindle is wings on a stick.  It's the perfect travel spindle.  Everything you need to produce a plyed yarn is right there in one break apart, flat, stick it in your pocket or bag, package.  What more could you ask for.  Last October when I posted pictures of my "antique" Turkish spindle, I was contacted by Wanda of Fiberjoy.  Her husband, Ed, of Jenkins Woodworking, makes beautiful contemporary Turkish style spindles.  I visited their site.  Gorgeous!  Thus began the tale of two spindles...

Saturday night, when I went out to the mailbox, there was a small package. Not a box mind you, but a rather soft sided package addressed simply to "Judy", at my address.  I knew Wanda was sending me a spindle to try out, but I figured a box would come, lots of packing, protection.  But no.  That's the first thing to understand about these remarkable spindles.  They come apart like tinkertoys.  This makes them truly portable.  It would be possible to slide one right into your briefcase on top of your laptop, just for instance.  I removed the three pieces from the envelope and put them together.  Beautiful. 

The spindle is light in color and weight and very smooth to the touch.  It is made of bamboo.   I particularly like the idea of a bamboo Turkish as it not only keeps the weight down, this one weighs in at 1.2 oz., but it is made of a "green" material.  Bamboo is the sustainable wood.  Not only is it the fastest growing plant on the planet, but it is also one of the strongest woods. 

These pictures show the spinning of 72 yds, (.9 oz, that translates into about 1300 yds/lb.) of medium staple wool, into a 2 ply yarn.  Notice how the yarn gets wound onto the wings of the spindle forming a center pull ball.   Instead of having to use a kate or winding several spindles worth of yarn onto a felted ball before spindle plying, you can ply directly from the ball.  It couldn't be easier.


it stands up when you put it down


comes apart to release the center pull ball...


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for plying...


Don't think that because these spindles look large that they can only spin a heavier weight yarn.  I've just started some silk and it spins fine.  Wanda posted pictures of some cashmere she's spinning on her .9 oz. Turkish spindle.


For those of you who seem to have some sort of death wish for me... how about off the deck instead of off the roof..

Bet you can hardly see it!


walk with me wednesday


This unseasonally beautiful weather has kept people outdoors.  Usually, in January, I might see one other person walking on the beach.  Not so, Sunday could have been  cut from October.  There have been years when I could walk on the frozen bay by now.  This winter the grebes and mallards are sharing open water in the salt marshes with Canadian geese.  The gulls look fat and happy. 


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