This month’s spindle challenge was an easy one, just spin a minimum of 15 minutes each day. This is going to lead up to two consecutive months of produce items using your Jenkins spindle spun yarn. Since a lot of my yarn this year has been producing squares for my Breed Blanket Project, there are lots of bits and bobs of leftovers from the squares and a scrapy scarf or cowl will use up a lot of them.

After spinning three breeds this month and knitting several squares, I started on a braid of wool dyed in Ruby colors that are not for the blanket and just for fun. The first 12 g were spun on a large spindle plying on the fly until I decided that the spindle was just too large to use in the car, so I switched to one of my smaller spindles that fits nicely in a Talenti gelato container and drops into my carry all bag.

The colorful case is a rigid sided, zippered pencil case that is perfect for toting a spindle or two when I want or need to go away. It was a recent acquisition to my collection. The ruby yarn that will be produced will become fingerless mitts and a hat or cowl for holiday markets and my Squareup shop.

In early to mid August, I did a test knit of a cabled hat pattern, Debbie’s Tobaggan on Ravelry for a friend. As I usually use my own handspun yarns and I didn’t have any yarn in the correct gauge, I purchased a skein from another friend (Sunrise Valley Farm) that vends at the local farmer’s market. Her wools are lovely and hand dyed.

The pattern designing friend was at the fiber retreat I attended in late August and she was working on another pattern, fingerless mitts or mittens. About a week ago, she asked for test knitters for this pattern. I had purchased a skein of alpaca/wool blend yarn from yet another friend and had enough of it left from a project to test knit the new pattern, Blue Ridge Mitts, which will soon be released on Ravelry. See the mountains and the sun?

The mitts are currently drying from being washed and blocked, and I am about to start another pair using some of my homespun Shetland in a soft gray.

Recently my decade old Nexus tablet quit. That tablet has lived in an Oberon Design leather cover for most of it’s life. I am a real fan of the Oberon products, owning a card case, notebook cover, checkbook cover, and the tablet cover that have been purchased by me or given to me by hubby as gifts. I was trying to think of a new life for the tablet cover and as many of the patterns that I knit have charts in the pattern design, I took a metal chart holder that was a bit too large and with tin snips, cut it to size, so now I have a pattern holder.

I consider that a win/win!

My health crisis appears to be behind us. My diet is back to normal and we are walking every day (except the day of the monsoon) and doing at least 2.25 miles and trying to challenge myself on speed and inclines. Most days, hubby and I goad each other as to who is pushing who, but it is all in fun and should one of us feel taxed by the effort, it just takes a word to slow the pace down a little. We are both fitter for the effort, which is good for our senior bodies.

Where was the Ark when we needed it

Night before last, it began to rain and rain it did all day yesterday and all night last night. Heavy, downpour, run down the driveway like a river rain. The creeks are raging, our village is under a flash flood watch. We are safe up on the mountain side, down in the hollow, but well above the creeks that merge on our west property line. In heavy rains, those creeks overwhelm the sink hole and run down the old creekbed along the west side of us.

The windows on the chicken coop were left open and this morning, all of the hens had wet tail feathers, so the rain must have come from the east at least for a while. The straw under their roosts is soaked and though I just changed it out less than a week ago, I will have to do so again once it stops raining today. The sun peeked out briefly, but the clouds and drizzle returned. The last time we drove by the feed store, the straw trailer was gone. I hope that means a new trailer full was being brought in. I have barely enough to put in the coop this time and none for winter layering and coop cleaning. The coop has nearly twice as many birds in it as it should for it’s size and as they only spend the night in there, I don’t fret about it too much, they free range during the day. But because of the number of them in there at night, the coop requires much more frequent maintenance and in spite of free ranging, they go through a 5 gallon bucket of feed a week. They are producing plenty of eggs. It is fun to gather them each day. The Marans eggs are large to jumbo and such a pretty dark brown, the Buff Orpingtons and NH reds lay lighter brown eggs in the average size. The two Easter eggers lay a blue egg and a green egg that are smaller, but not usually as small as this one. This was a shell with eggwhite and no yolk, an oopsie egg. Often as the hens are still young, there will be an egg with double yolks. Last week, there were three eggs where the shell was incomplete on the end and had a small rounded edged hole just in the shell. One was slightly flattened on one side and the shell was washboard shaped. They are still figuring it out. At least there won’t be molt this fall, so egg production will continue.

The friend for whom I did the test knit of a hat, has designed a pattern that can be fingerless mitts or mittens. Since I had gotten several of my breed blanket squares knit earlier in the month, finishing one yesterday, I volunteered to test knit her new pattern as well. Last night I did about half of one mitt and will finish it today. Hoping I have enough of the yarn to do the second one while awaiting a second skein from another friend.

Not a very professional shot, taking a photo in the dark of my dominant hand with my non dominant hand. Next time I knit this pattern, which I will as I love her Blue Ridge Mountain chart, I will make the cuff longer.

I continue to spin at least 15 minutes each day for the September challenge. I am trying to see how much of the Ruby BFL I can get on this spindle, spinning and plying in one pass, called Ply on the Fly.

The braid is 4 ounces. I would love to get at least half of it on the spindle, we will see.

It isn’t fair. . .

I know, life isn’t fair, but having the hottest part of the summer just when everything is ready to harvest and be canned isn’t fair.

Since I am heading out for a few days later this week, and leaving hubby home to hold down the fort, I decided that the apples, pears, and gooseberries, should be processed before I leave, so in spite of today’s brutal heat, I heated up the huge canner. Since the ground cherries (gooseberries) would only make a small batch, I was able to cook them in a small flat pan. The large pot filled with pears as I peeled, cored, and sliced them and a thinly sliced orange to make Asian Pear Marmalade. Once they were both in the canner, I began to core and chop the apples and put them in the large pot to cook down. The apples after cooking down and pressing through the food mill, provided 5 1/2 pints of applesauce for the shelves.

There is now more jam than I will consume in a year, and since each pint of applesauce is two meals and there is still at least one jar left from last year, this will be enough for us. I still have 3 more pounds of of pears on the counter. I’m not sure how I will use them, maybe some pear sauce or pear jelly. Or maybe they will be peeled and frozen to use in a holiday dessert. The rest of the tomatoes can wait as they are frozen, but pizza sauce and crushed tomatoes still need to be done. Maybe it will cool down next week when I am back home and I can heat things up again.

While the applesauce was in the canner, I finished the test knit for my friend. After this photo was taken, it was soaked in vinegar water to set the dye and is now blocked on the bed downstairs. If it dries before I leave, I will take it to show the designer. I haven’t decided whether to add a pompom or tassle or leave it as it is.

It is time to get back to spinning, very little was done this past week.