Olio – September 1, 2023

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

The garden is a mess, the two pumpkins vines have taken over and what isn’t under their leaves are weeds. The zucchini finally quit, the cucumbers are scarce, but there are many pickled in the refrigerator. The tomatoes have produced well but many were lost with a period of rain and then being away for 4 days. A bucket full is awaiting attention on the kitchen counter. It will be turned into sauce this afternoon and what isn’t used for dinner will be frozen in quart freezer bags as I still haven’t the drive to can this year. The Tomatillos are producing fruit but it is rotting on the vine or getting eaten so only 1 have been brought in. The peppers are still not doing much.

I did get away last weekend for an annual fiber retreat in beautiful Black Mountain, NC. The group was on the smaller side due to some folks that had to drop out at the last minute, but I did meet some new people and look forward to seeing them again maybe at Hawk’s Nest in February or next year at Black Mountain.

A morning walk while there an encounter with a very tolerant hen Turkey and her three poults.

Once home, the Mama Hen has started making her 5ish week old chicks get up on the roost at night. The two orphans spend the night hiding behind the feeder and waterer and the day roaming the coop. They have only ventured out twice and both times have been attacked by the flock of hens. Today we purchased a wire dog cage and I put them in it where they will be seen, but protected. On nice days, I will pull it out and put it in a shady spot in the yard and hopefully eventually they will be accepted or will at least be big enough to defend themselves.

Not much else happening.


Hubby says I have an addiction, not to alcohol, drugs, or other dangerous harmful substances, but to beautiful wood, especially wood that can be used daily.

This basket holds 5 Jenkins Turkish spindles, 4 Finches, 1 Wren, and a social media friend who lives on the West Coast was able to travel to Black Sheep Gathering, a festival in Oregon this weekend and proxy shopped for me today to add a Pear wood Wren to the mix. There are 4 top whorl drop spindles in the house as well, two that get used when dressed in Colonial garb and presenting fiber use in Colonial times, one that was gifted to me but is so light weight I have trouble keeping it spinning, and one purchased to help support a Ukrainian artist.

These beautiful works of art are used daily. For a year, they spun the wool to make the breed blanket in 2021.

This year, the wool to knit the Shetland Hap shawl.

And now, working through about 30 ounces of Jacob/Alpaca blend and Shetland/Nylon blend that will become a sweater when I settle on a pattern. Both of those wools can be seen in the basket above and the plied ball of them together that will be the yarn for the sweater.

He mostly was kidding me, as I have been an easy on the budget wife, I hate to shop, I don’t have my hair and nails done, I love to cook, I wear very little jewelry. But I do love my spindles and the calming effect of making yarn on them.

Different types of challenges

There are fun challenges, physical challenges, financial challenges, personal challenges, mental challenges, and many more.

We face various challenges daily with different mindsets. Sometimes our challenges require us to buck up and tough it out. Sometimes our challenges overwhelm and send us spiraling downward. Or upward when we overcome them.

The social media spindle group to which I subscribe offers monthly challenges. Some have definite guidelines, others are to set your own and then strive to fulfill them. This past month, the challenge was to spin color, it could be your favorite, one you don’t like, one that is new to you. I had be given a two samples from a braid of Rambouillet wool. They came with two new spindles, one I won the lottery to be able to purchase, the second, a gift from hubby for our 45th anniversary. One sample was browns, whites, and teal, the second was just the teal. I reached out to the indie dyer from whom the Jenkins (spindle maker and his wife who does all the labelling, marketing, and packaging) had obtained it. She was able to send me a 4 ounce package of just the teal, a color I generally lean toward (my phone case, some accessories, etc).

All month long I have been spinning this wool, mostly on my smaller Jenkins Finch style Turkish spindles, a little on my Golding drop spindle with a lovely inset of Sunflowers, painted by a Ukranian artist. The month is coming to a close and as of yesterday, there was still about 1/3 of the package of wool to be spun. Several ounces into spinning it, I no longer cared for the color and the wool, a breed I had only sampled before reminded me too much of another breed I don’t care to spin. Basically, wanting to just quit on it.

Yesterday, the local spinning group to which I below, not just the couple of neighbors that I spin with weekly, held it’s annual front deck spin in hosted by one of the members and her DH. This all afternoon event includes a pot luck lunch and in addition to the regulars that can attend the one afternoon a week meet up, folks from as far away as about 4 hours, who many of us know from retreats, also attend. An opportunity to see some friends only seen a couple of times a year is wonderful. I had been looking for a small travel spinning wheel, and the couple from 4 hours away had one they were willing to part with. They brought it with them yesterday for me to purchase.

A new challenge, plying the wool spun all month on a wheel I had never previously used, outdoors in the chilly breeze. It took a little while to get the tension and ratio right for the fine, too soft almost threadlike singles of the spindle spun wool, but it was accomplished, hopefully with enough twist to be good yarn.

And once home after spinning more on the spindles at the event, a bit was set aside to fulfill the last week of the challenge and the remaining wool is being spun on the new wheel to be plied later today or this evening. It is spinning to the same yarn weight on the wheel, so there should be a nice, light weight, large yardage, 4 ounce skein when the two are combined. It may get set aside until the color again appeals to be to made into a project, or the skein may become a door prize or gift exchange item for a later event.

This project has presented several different types of challenges, some self imposed, some imposed by other reasons, but it almost done.

Next month, a more preferred fiber for spinning will be chosen as it will be a practice for the Tour de Fleece challenge in July. Our group doesn’t compete in any of the larger Tour de Fleece challenges with other groups, it is just a “for fun” challenge within our group with some prizes at the end. I will definitely pick a wool with some color variation and of a breed that I enjoy spinning. Rambouillet is now added to the list to not spin again in the future. I definitely don’t prefer the very soft, shorter fibered wools. I want a bit of substance in my spin.