When I resumed knitting about 16 years ago, it was because the first grandchild was expected and I learned a lot knitting soakers, shirts, socks, and other baby items. I have knit several adult sweaters and vests along the way, a few for me, a few for family. Hats, fingerless mitts, some mittens, a few scarves for family and a few for me, but then most of my handspun yarn and nearly all of my knitting has gone to my shop for sale. The inability to have craft shows and slow business in the online shop have meant that the stock isn’t moving and more doesn’t need to be added, but spinning on my spindles is soothing, destressing, “serene” as the spindle maker’s wife posts.
I spin about 4 ounces of fiber a month, that is one skein of yarn, a dozen or so in a year and I don’t need to add more to the supply, but I need the craft and activity, so the year long challenge to spin 12 different breeds of sheep wool, one per month, on Jenkins Turkish spindles and making a blanket from them is just what I needed. I can spin and use the wool spun on something for the house, for us. There will probably be a bit extra spun and used for hats or fingerless mitts for family, the shop, or me, but most of the effort will go to the blanket. It isn’t going to be a heavy, weigh you down blanket, the yarn is going to be fairly fine, but being wool, it will be comfortable to provide a layer when an extra one is needed on the bed, or laid over a snoozing body in a chair.
The gray square and the colorful square are about 10″ each, the gray one doesn’t count as it wasn’t spun this year, but it will be part of the finished blanket. The colorful square and the green above are a single breed and fiber that hubby gave me for Christmas. I am going for a log cabin type blanket.
What a great and fun way to keep up my spinning and knitting.
As the ball dropped beginning 2021, I started spinning my Christmas gift fiber to be the first official block of the Breed Blanket Project 2021 challenge. The fiber was two ounces each of two colors of a very soft BFL wool. It only takes less than an ounce to do a square so the first ounce was spun, washed, dried, and is now being knit onto the test square of Jacob wool that I spun in November and December and plied in the late days of December. Because I want a larger blanket than a dozen 10 inch squares would make, I am going to be making two or even three squares each month of the fiber selected for the month. The other two ounces of the Christmas gift is the teal still being spun. There is another ounce of each of them that can become additional squares or a hat or fingerless mitts. I love the colors of both and they are gorgeous together.
I am glad to have this challenge to keep me occupied until such a time as we can finally get a vaccine and feel somewhat safer about going out into the region for essentials and family connections. Our county of only about 15000 people has reported 652 cases of COVID, and 95 of them have occurred since December 31. The village store keeps their newspapers right at the door and my routine on days we get a paper is to take one step in with exact change, take a paper, put the money on the counter and flee without ever letting the door close. Yesterday, three customers and a vendor all left the store just as we arrived and none of them were masked. The resistance to such a simply safely measure is so strong here. I’m sure that we will see even more of a surge as the holiday gatherings that surely happened all over the county spread it. So far the hospitalization and death rates here have been fairly low which surprises me as the population is older and if the products carried by and brought out of the village store is any indication, a lot of smoking and drinking is done by the population. This is just another challenge to our new year.
Our country is facing the worst challenge with COVID and with the political climate when our “leaders” take to social media and the airwave encouraging violence to over throw a legitimate, fair election. Our Democracy is threatened, our country is fractured and it is frightening. We are not a third world country. What happened to civility. Did none of these people pay attention in Civics and Government classes? We have a Constitution, but it is being ignored by so many politicians. We have a President who envisions himself a Dictator and has a cult following that is armed and dangerous. I hope the next few days are not as contentious as they are playing out to be, I hope no one is harmed, and I hope that all the players who are encouraging the rabble are properly punished.
The year ended with business paperwork showing an abysmal year for the shop. A putting away of last year and a clean house to start the new year. The last of the Christmas roast that had been frozen was thawed and warmed for supper last night with Huevos Rancheros on the schedule for the morning. We stayed up to watch the ball drop over the empty Times Square.
I started my double challenge spinning while watching another 30 minutes of new year festivities after midnight.
Yesterday, I knit the first square for the blanket as a test, using wool spun in November and December, and though it will be part of the finished blanket, it doesn’t count in the challenge. The wool I am starting with is BFL, 2 ounces each of the two colors above, Parrot Head and Kingfisher. One will start a new square after enough is spun and that will be my official one for the challenge, the other will be added to the square under them to provide the finishing corner of the blanket when all the quadrants of 4 breeds each are sewn together. The two spindles are “new” (within the past 5 weeks) and the fiber new at Christmas, so that satisfies the second challenge.
The morning brought an awakening thought that I had no eggs, so no Huevos for the Rancheros. He got cheese enchiladas and sausage instead. Our weekly curbside groceries were ready shortly after and again, the substitution or lack there of was a problem. It is frustrating that simple common sense can’t be used in offering substitutions. But it did get me the collards and black eyed peas that I will enjoy tonight as hubby has ham, au gratin potatoes, and something green. I enjoy corn bread with it, but have gotten frustrated that I make an 8″ skillet of it and half ends up going to the chickens before it all gets eaten. Maybe I should look for a tiny cast iron skillet and divide the recipe so that there are only 4 slices instead of 8.
The new year started rainy and cold but the rest of the week looks lovely. Tomorrow there is no official Farmer’s Market, but a few vendors have offered pre orders with a short window pick up. We will drive in to get eggs and some veggies. Next week, the winter markets begin.
Let’s hope that the vaccines get distributed fairly and quickly and that there are no more incidents of deliberate waste of them. Let’s also hope that the “adults” that hold positions in our House and Senate, act like adults and move the election result to completion. This year has to be better than last. A new grandson last January, socially distanced meet ups with our children and their families a few times, and my spindle spinning and knitting have gotten me through the past year.