Weekend of Fun-9/1/2019

I am home from a few days of fun with friends at one of the fiber retreats that I attend as a participant and as a vendor. We changed the location this year from a State Park in Tennessee to the Blue Ridge YMCA Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina. A couple of years ago, I volunteered to work on organizing the goody bags for the first 25 participants that register as overnight guests, and as a vendor, agree to donate a door prize. This year, because it is Labor Day weekend, we lost a few regulars, but had a few new folks. We also have a voluntary “Dirty Santa” gift exchange game. I was fortunate to have a beautiful copper shawl pin donated as a door prize by a blacksmith friend, JJL Forge, you can find him on Facebook. A good discount on a yarn bowl, and I had a 4 ounce hank of roving plus a hand spun, hand knit scarf that I made that were also door prizes. With gifts donated by other vendors and folks that just wanted to add to the fun, there was a door prize for everyone.

We have several husbands that come and hang out, hike, or in one case spin with us. I cleaned up at this retreat. I gave a friend some fiber she could spin or blend with some of her wool from her animals. She was a commuter participant so she could care for her animals and this morning, she returned with the two white balls of the softest white Cormo roving as a gift for me. The teal and gray sock ball was my door prize. The red roving top left was my gift exchange result, the 5 balls of yarn in the center were a purchase for a wrap for me. The yellow skein sitting on the reddish and pinkish roving was a grab bag that I purchased because I took only natural colored fiber with me and wanted some color. The yellow part was spun and plyed yesterday.

Some participants do not spin so there are knitters and crocheters that come as well. We had some different vendors this year, Unplanned Peacock Yarns came, vended and donated mini skeins for the goody bags. Happy Art by Kay donated a painted plate as a door prize and a box of home made toffee for each goody bag. We had two artists that taught classes, one watercolor painting, one Bob Ross painting. Classes in Zentangle, Darning knits, Reading knitting charts, 2 different yoga classes, Word bracelet making, 2 different weaving classes, and so much more to keep us busy and allowing breaks in the knitting or spinning if you signed up for any of the classes.

It was busy, relaxing, rewarding, and I am glad to be home to catch up here for a few days. There is laundry to finish, a yard to mow, a house to vacuum and dust, but goodies to play with in my down times.

Getting Ready – 8/18/2019

It is only 11 days until I get to leave for the Knotty Ladies Fiber Retreat in Black Mountain, NC. I am excited, this is a new venue in a beautiful place. Trying to get ready to pack my car quickly as I will be traveling north for a few days later this week to help out family and I want to have everything decided and ready.

The agenda has many items:

  1. make sure I have the goody bags packed with the items I have acquired, the door prizes, and my gift for the Dirty Santa gift exchange. DONE
  2. gather items for the “free to take” table and other items for the “sale” table, items I don’t want but don’t want to give away. Working on it.
  3. Assess my vending stock and decide what is going. DONE
  4. Make some healing salves and labels for same. Maybe tomorrow
  5. Decide on what the non crated items will be packed in as I don’t know this venue or how convenient loading in will be.

This sent me on a creative frenzy, weaving a wrap from hand spun yarn. Dyeing some hand spun yarn. Spinning another skein of yarn. The plying of that skein produced a skein of fine fingering weight smooth Shetland wool yarn of 348 yards, but it was too loosely plyed, so I sent it through the wheel again to put in more twist. It is a nicely balanced yarn now. The wrap got a crocheted top edge and some reweaving to repair the flaw and it is washed and is blocked to dry. The dyed and newly spun yarns are drying.

I need to get some crafting and a book together and make sure the laundry is done before I have to pack for the trip to help family.

I’m sure there will be way too much to do, but most of it will go with me to the fiber retreat as well along with my wheel and more fluff to spin.

If the salves don’t get done, it will be okay. If I have too much to entertain myself, at least it is contained in a basket. I never run out of crafting to play with.

Olio – 8/15/2019

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

Woven trapezoid is off the loom, by daylight I saw a flaw that I will need to address. It needed an over weave to fix it and blocking but I think turned into an interesting piece. The third photo is by natural daylight and the colors show better.

The first harvest of grapes were juiced, and jelled. The second harvest is underway over the next few days. The results were so delicious that more is going to be made, then the remaining grapes left for the local wildlife that also enjoy the spoils of the garden and orchard.

Some years the garden overwhelms with tomatoes and there are no cucumbers except those purchased at the Farmers’ Market. Some years the tomatillos don’t grow or seedlings can’t be found. This year, the tomatoes are the scarce commodity in our garden, the plants never looked very healthy, the fruit output poor. Tomatoes can be purchased by the box at a local organic practices farm for $1/pound, but I’m not sure that economically it is worth the purchase. There are 21 pints of tomatoes canned, 9 half pints of pizza sauce, and I am still gathering a few tomatoes each day or two and freezing them to make another batch of some sort of tomato product; pizza sauce, tomatoes with hot peppers, or spaghetti sauce.

The fruit trees weren’t hit this year with a bloom frost and the fruit is too plentiful. The peach trees had fruit for the first time and every peach had worm damage and didn’t ripen. The Asian Pears are so heavy with fruit that several branches broke, I should have thinned the fruit. Lesson learned. Today I cut out the broken branches and picked some of the pears to hopefully prevent further damage. The apple trees look like they have a fair amount of fruit too, but the deer have eaten all that they can reach. It is going to take a ladder to get what is left unless I can reach it from the tractor seat.

We started our orchard with 3 peach trees. When I started raising chickens, I deliberately put the run around one of the trees for shade and put rocks around the trunk so they wouldn’t damage the roots. That tree did not survive the chickens scratching and possibly the hot fertilizer they produce. The largest tree got out of control and I cut it back severely a couple of years ago and have tried to keep it properly pruned since. It had the most, largest but most damaged fruit this year. The third tree near it produced some small hard peaches, but looks like it isn’t going to survive.

Winter before last I took a pruning class, but maybe I need a class on how to raise fruit organically so that the fruit is usable, or accept that I will have pears and apples only. My little fig is growing, but there won’t be fruit from it this year and the 3 year old plum keeps getting the new growth nipped by the deer, so I guess it needs a fence.

Another round of garden harvest will happen this evening and if I get enough additional Tomatillos, another batch of Tomatillo simmer sauce with jalapenos will be made in the morning.