Month Ends, Challenge Begins

The last quarterly spindle challenge begins tomorrow. I couldn’t sit idle from several days ago when I submitted my end of month total, so I used a top whorl spindle to continue spinning the mixed Jacob roving and spun another 33.55 grams for the month that won’t count, but I had plenty official spun.

The scale says 35.55, but the ball has a 2 gram felted ball in the middle around which it is wound.

I will probably go ahead and ply the Jacob on the wheel and leave it on the bobbin until I finish with the almost 3 ounces left of the fiber. I was unsure what I wanted to concentrate on in October until I went to the virtual Shenandoah Fiber Festival and Wild Hare Fiber Studio, one of the vendors I would have sought did a Shenandoah gradient dyed fiber for the weekend. I ordered it, I had to get something significant from it, I also ordered from my friend at Hearts of the Meadow Farms. The Shenandoah was shipped Monday and arrived today and it is the perfect decision for the month.

The colors toward the center of the braid match the figured Big leaf Maple spindle so well they just go together. The fiber from my friend is white and a white and burgundy which will be nice colors for the cold of December. Yesterday I logged on to Facebook, just in time to see that Yarn Tools website, the ones that make the Jenkins Turkish spindles were having a shop update of spindles in the size I prefer. I’m not usually lucky enough to catch the updates, but I was and purchased a Honduran Rosewood Finch, it is heavier than the Olive Finch I own. Then later in the day, the group update showed they would be having a lottery for the right to buy 1 of 18 spindles. In the lottery, you can select 2 to enter and I put my name in there too for two small spindles. I’m not generally lucky there, but who knows.

Today we went back to the museum to pick up my knits, yarn, and soaps that didn’t sell. I was pleased to see that I did sell some items and the museum purchased more of my salves as they seem to sell there. In talking to my friend that organizes all of their events, we discussed that two of the hats are really too large. I am toying with whether to run elastic thread through the ribbing or just frog and reknit them. One has a zigzag pattern of colorwork and I may cut it below the zigzag, pick up the stitches, decrease about 10 or 15 stitches and knit the ribbing in reverse to make it better fit a “normal” head but maintain a slightly slouchy top. I have to decide if I am that brave. The other just needs to be frogged and reknit with fewer stitches and/or a smaller needle. That is the only hat in my stock that I actually followed a pattern on.

Hats don’t usually sell in my Etsy shop, maybe I need a wig model to show them off better.

Tools and preparation

As I finished the fiber from August and September, it empties my tools in preparation for the October challenge. The three Jenkins spindles were emptied, the Bosworth which I can’t use for the challenge was called into play to ply who small turtles of CVM, making 45 yards of 2 ply yarn that will be used as trim. The Jacob that I finished prior to recording my total was joined with a second turtle spun since the reporting and the two were wound into a ply ball and set aside to be added to before it is plied for use.

The tools in and by this wooden bowl are the ones I use each day, making yarn the slow, meditative way. Sometimes I use purchased prepared roving, sometimes I comb fleece that I washed and once in a while, I just spin from locks.

The second skein of shiny Shetland/Bombyx was washed and dried. It turned out to be exactly the same yardage and weight as the first skein. I couldn’t do that intentionally if I tried.

It ended up 933+ yards of lace weight yarn and is now in my shop for sale. It is gorgeous, but I don’t knit with lace weight yarn, though that seems to be what I spin on the spindles.

Since there are still a few days until I can begin official spinning for the challenge, I will spin on the Bosworth top whorl spindle and just add to the ply ball. The gray ball in the bowl is the Jacob. There will be enough finished yarn when it is all spun, to make a simple watch cap and fingerless mitts.

And while we talk tools, I attacked the tall thick grass on the riding mower, mowing with the deck set at the highest setting and doing half wide passes. It looks better, but still somewhat rough. We have a couple days of potential rain, then I will go after it again, set at the usual setting and doing full width passes and see if it can be neatened up before cold weather sets in. Some of the areas need to be brush hogged as they are just too tall and too deep for the riding mower.

We are threatened with widespread frost on Wednesday night. I need to find a solution to protect my fig, ground cherries, tomatillos, and peppers. We should have almost another month before we have to worry about frost. As for the tomatoes, I am going out to pick anything left on the plants. Red ones will go in the freezer, ripening ones set in a window to ripen, and green ones may become green salsa or if slicers, I might enjoy a few more fried green tomatoes. The plants will be pulled and added to the shred/burn pile. The last three sunflower stalks have browned and they also need to be pulled down. Newspaper will be saved to finish the aisles that never were finished in the spring and some sort of mulch applied to hold it in place to hopefully prevent as much growth there as I had this summer. Most of my weeding time was spent on three paths.

We have given permission to a young man who grew up in the area to bow hunt on our lower field when the season begins next Saturday. He and a buddy put a game camera down in the woods and it lasted two days before a big bear swiped it off the tree. The camera got a photo before and during the swipe. We saw the bear early in the summer, but haven’t seen it since, but it must traverse our woods without us seeing it. In exchange for the permission, he and his brother came over today and re-secured a gutter on the back of the house that had sagged enough that water was pouring over the outer edge in heavy rain. He said they would return and fine tune it if today’s repair was not enough. In the theme of today’s blog, they used my long extension ladder and cordless drill to facilitate the repair.

Stay safe out there.

Lost events

This weekend marks another lost event and another event at which I will be represented by some of my crafts, but not my person. For several years, we have gone north to the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, spent the weekend at a hotel with lots of social time with Son 1 and his family. Together, we all go to the Shenandoah Fiber Festival, visit a couple of vendor friend, see all the wooly and furry critters, and always leave with goodies. Yarn to knit first birthday sweater’s for a granddaughter that turns 4 this year, a spindle one year, fiber always.

That yarn became the sweater below for granddaughter.

Last year I was in the area to help Son 1’s family move into their house and we didn’t go to the festival as there were too many other things on the agenda that weekend.

This year it is virtual. There is no festival to attend. I have trouble buying fiber or yarn without seeing and feeling it, I don’t need any more spindles or wheels. I will miss the trip, but understand the safety of not holding it during the pandemic.

The second event is at the Museum where I do living history. They are having a fall festival with reservation only tours of 6 per half hour and 6 allowed to wander the outbuildings and grounds per half hour, but I am still not comfortable staying in a closed area other than my home for any length of time and wearing a mask in costume wouldn’t work, so my crafts are there on an honor system sale, but I’m not. I am hopeful that everyone will be honest and if anything takes a walk without payment, that it is really needed and will be loved.

We daily check the department of health’s website and see that the number of cases in our rural county have jumped more than 10 fold in about a month. For a very long time, there were only 7 or 8 cases here, then the students came back to the Universities in the area, the public school kids returned to a modified face to face school week, and we now have 88 cases and more reported each day (about 15 of them are public school students and/or staff). That doesn’t sound like a lot, but this is a small rural county with a handful of small towns and villages and no cities. This is also a mask resistant county, so we only go out when necessary and generally go to the next county to a larger town with more mask compliance, where we can get curbside delivery of groceries.

Today our adventure is to go get our curbside grocery delivery in pouring rain from Beta. I watched the pups this morning go quickly into the rain in belly deep grass to do what pups do first thing in the morning. Last evening, I called and the mowers are ready, but they have to be closed today (not that I want to load mowers in the rain), so we will go over in the morning before they close at noon. The weekend is predicted to be drier, so maybe set on the highest setting, I can reduce the height of the yard growth. We keep putting off going to get the brush hog because we will either have to pay for delivery or I will have to drive the tractor down the mountain road, about a mile down the highway edge, then return trip after we attach it to the tractor. I really should do that and have them change the oil and transmission fluid while they have it, that is a job I haven’t learned to do and have no interest in getting on the ground under the tractor to learn.

Until the deluge slows to a trickle, the chooks will stay in their coop with food and water. I will have to toss down hay in the run when I can get out there just to keep from sliding down the hill and to help keep them from taking mud baths. Chickens are stupid. I am toying with the idea of repairing the chicken tractor, removing it from the collapsed log raft and setting it on 4 blocks so the chickens can use it as a safe shelter when free ranging. It would give them a place to go if a dog or hawk threaten. There is no floor in it as the log raft was the floor, so they could get up into the perches or dust bathe under it.

The trees are beginning to color, we are seeing the yellowing of some and reds of some of the “trash” trees. I’m not ready for the woods to be bare yet.