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May 2007

lovely things

Dsc_0386_2 Yesterday, when I returned to my office, these where sitting on top of my paperwork.
How, what, and why..?  C came in and told me he had found them in the back of the van, between bags of cement.  What?  That made no sense.  By morning we had pieced a story together.

Monday, he had stopped at Home Depot to buy some Arbor Vitae and bags of cement for a job.  Cheaper there than wholesale.  A Sparrow (my guess a Chipping Sparrow) must have made her nest in one of them.  Poor bird, imagine not only having your tree disappear, but also your nest with eggs.  How distraught she must be.  The trees were packed in the truck at a reclined angle, eggs rolled out and settled between the bags.  Makes sense, but no less sad.   I've checked the trees and haven't found any sign of a nest, but these birds are not good builders, at best their nests are flimsy.


I wrote the other day that I had purchased another Hardy spindle, and that I love it.  I do. I haven't wanted to knit or to spin on anything else the past few days.  It is a pleasure to spin, to look at and to hold.  Barneswallow Farm's llama and silk fiber I bought to spin on it is no slouch either.  It is very soft and beautifully carded.    I have one small bobbin and another spindle almost ready to wind off.


walk with me wednesday, be careful what you ask for


Trillium, two varieties grow wild near the house.


From the yard, I could hear the stream that feeds into the pond. It was loud and definitely racing.  I decided to see if I could get through the winter blow down, cross the bridge, and make my way around the pond.   It wasn't too bad when three or so feet of snow covered the ground, elevating my path above the fallen trees.  Now, it is a different world.


Can you see the bridge through the trees?  It is a huge old ruogh sawn plank spanning the stream.  Before I come to it, I have to pass by the spot where the otter have their winter home.  So for those of you who asked to see the otter scat last winter, I'll show you.  Now that the spring rains have washed the green slimey parts away, what remains are the fish scales.  (I can't believe I'm posting this, you asked and you know who you are. the rest of you can scroll past quickly if it bothers you.)


Further on, this little guy was busy going in and out of his hole in the ground.


Who was this?  What happened?  These feathers are on a log nearly four feet off the ground. 


At the furthest point around, the trees have fallen into what I always considered the cove.  Every year is different.   


Robin, is that you?

Sheep in disguise, or is it?


The last fiber festival in May.. MA Sheep & Wool, aka Cummington, was the perfect end to a month of fairs.  It was small enough that you could walk around and see everything and still have time to visit with friends.  Impromptu spin-ins occurred wherever and whenever more than two spinners bumped into one another, at any booth with spindles to buy, or to try, and space enough to accommodate.  I got my first look at the Bosworth's Woolly Mammoth  spindle.  (No, I do not have one on order, but.... it was amazing.)  Who knew that the tusk would have a fabulous cross hatched texture when held in the light.  I've never held anything from a mammoth in my hand before.  It blew me away.  I retried a Powell I had coveted at CT in April.  Powell makes gorgeous spindles and this one was a beauty.  Still unbalanced, I left it behind.  Sadly, it happens.    From there I headed over to Just Our Yarn (gorgeous yarn, silk hankies and more spindles) stopping along the way to buy  6 oz. of a 50/50 llama & silk blend from Barn Swallow Farm. The first spindle I tried, a beautiful little Hardy made mostly of olive wood, became the newest addition to my collection.   What a perfect combination.  I haven't wanted to put it down since. 

      the not so merry men?


After the fair we gathered at Cate's for her annual blegger.  More friends, more spinning, food and drink.  A game of musical wheels.  I spun on my Hardy all evening, barely tempted by the orgy of wheels and spindles around me. 

Great weekend, great company, and great breakfast..


(picture thanks to a passing stranger and Kathy for passing it along)

Spindle and fiber pics tomorrow, I have got to get to work.


It has been a long hot (well, the past couple of days were hot) week.  The temps hit 90 today, nearly finishing off the daffodils.  The apple blossoms and lilac were forced open by the middle of the afternoon.  Late for most of you.  Just in time here.  I hope this heat wave means that we won't have another hard frost.  So many years we lose the apple crop to a late cold snap.  The ground was dry enough to get the garden tilled.  I've got a first planting of lettuce, spinach, and radish, early things.  I've seen pictures of your gardens.  I know that you are eating your first crop.  What can I say.  This isn't like other places.   
TGIF, these puppies are beat. 


Tomorrow.... Cummington.  Hope to see some of you there.

hurry up, slow down

Most of the day was spent in the field, putting up shade houses and covering the hosta beds with 60% shade cloth.  Up and down the ladder, all day.  Climb up, unroll some cloth, bungee it to the structure, climb back down, move ladder three feet and repeat.  Over and over.  Temps hit 90.  Mother Nature must be laughing.  That we had a fire going on Monday is not lost on me.  By the time we were finished it, the temps were down to 86.  Time to jump into the pond.  The water has NOT had time to warm up.  Heart stopping.  Refreshing.  Back stroking out is one thing, but having that icy cold water stream past your belly, oh my...! 

I took a breather and came in to have a cold drink and go online to find Wendy's pattern for toe up socks.  I'm at the point where I have to make the gusset or heel or whatever comes next in a toe up.  While waiting for the dial up to get where i point it, I spin.  The Schacht sits next to my desk.   

I'm working on a pound of 50% alapca / 50% wool that I bought at the RI Sheep & Wool festival last Saturday from the Twist of Fate Spinnery guys.  Thought I'd see what their processed fiber felt like.  Pretty grey.


Spins up nicely.  I'm thinking three ply.


In answer to some of your comments from yesterday, the paw prints were Coon.  The bear, however, did go through the outhouse, tossing everything, EVERYTHING, out onto the lawn while he finished off the sunflower seeds.  So far, I haven't heard a mountain lion this year.

walk with me wednesday

Two nights ago it was 28F.  The transition from winter to spring has warped, summer is rushing in.  With the temps hitting the high 70's, the road and field have dried to firm walking.  No wet feet today. 


I'm playing catch up, knowing full well it eludes me now and will continue to do so for weeks to come.  As I went about my errands, as I checked the berry bushes at the far end of the field and the road for visitors, I carried my camera.  My neighbors were out enjoying a dandelion salad with a view.


For Anne, a bouquet.  Look closely, she'll have to share it with a few friends.


Some have yet to shed their sweaters...



splitting straws

It's no secret that I think that of all the spindles I've used, the Turkish style makes the most sense.  This is for one reason only.  When you finish spinning, there on the spindle is a center pull ball ready to ply.  The problem is that I have other beautiful spindles that I absolutely love to spin on.  With my top whirls, I usually use my feet to set them twirling.  I love this method.  They spin quickly and I can keep the spin going without having to stop until the limits of my reach determine that I must.  After a while I've spun a lovely copse and then... then the problem with spindling hits me.  It is inefficient (and a pain in the butt) to stop and wind off the yarn.  There has to be a better way.  For months I've played with ideas for plying boxes, boxes to use for winding bobbins of yarn from the spindle, modular spindles, and things..   Then last week I read the article in the Spring 2007 Spin Off about Peter Teal's spindle and plying box "kit".   It was all there.  Except, I have many spindles  that I love.  I said that before, didn't I?  There must be an easy way, a good way, to get the yarn off the spindle without tangling it, without winding a ball.  Some good way to transfer it to a plying station.  I'm thinking about it.  Anyone have a good solution.


There is a lot of yardage in that little silk ball.  It took a long time, and C holding the spindle between his fingers while I wound the ball ( I had played with it trying too many things and had disturbed the copse a bit too much for it to come off easily).

I stopped at a fast food place yesterday and picked up a few large straws along with a burger.  I split one and fashioned a plastic quill.  But a red plastic straw, on my beautiful Forrester???


For another spindle I rolled a bit of wax paper around the spindle before starting to spin. 


So what do you do?  Any ideas? 

new things

This week has been about regrouping, getting things back in order after New Hampshire.  By Tuesday evening I had the yarn inventory finished and back online.  I had dyed an awful lot of yarn to take  with me and hadn't posted it to the "store".  That made updating things a lot faster.  The good is that it sold, the bad, that I am waiting for my yarn order.  I'll get to dyeing as soon as it arrives.  As a good amount is coming from overseas, it will be a couple weeks until I get my inventory back to where I like it. 


Now for knitting....

There were two different yarns that I promised myself that I would keep if they didn't sell last week.  The first one was sock yarn in the Dandelion colorway.  I had dyed it with a project in mind.  Sunday, I finally pulled it out of the sale basket and stashed it away in my knitting bag.  I had pictured socks knit in a stockinette stitch with little flowers...dandelions.. scattered in a field of yellow.  A Vermont field in the spring.  It would be my first toe up sock.  This was necessary to keep the flowers from standing on their heads.  So far, so good.  Use your imagination, I am certainly using mine.


The second yarn was my alpaca / silk lace wt.  I had pictured using it for Susan's Spring Things Shawl.


The color is a bit dark in the photo.  It is a dark day but I didn't want to wash it out with a flash. 

I look out my window on this rainy day into a green cave.  The leaves have filled out, the woods filled in, my vista shortened.  Gone are the bones of winter. 

NH Sheep & Wool

When the weather cooperates, New Hampshire has one of the nicest Sheep & Wool festivals going.  This year was perfect.  Although I was trapped in Bldg.#2 all weekend, I did manage a quick trip up to Foxfire before the fair opened Sunday morning to buy myself a present of Cashmere and Silk roving.. just a bit.  Very lovely.  There was one other 20 minute trip later the same day where I ran around the fairgrounds just to get the feel of it.  So guys, those of you who took the trouble to find me, and I know that Bldg.#2 is really set apart and away from everything else... I thank you!  It was SO nice to visit, however briefly, with friends.  My booth mate, Leslie Wind and I pinched ourselves all weekend.  Our neighbor was the tea vendor (thanks for a weekend of samples), and right outside the door another vendor sold the best ginger molasses cookies I've ever had.  Pretty fine. 

My view for the weekend..