Productive Crafting

Once masks were recommended, prior to them being required in businesses and other buildings other than your home, I made each of us 2 masks. Then I made daughter one, later another and two for each of her two kiddos. It seems like they are always in the laundry even though we aren’t going out much. This morning, I decided that we should each have two more and I had seen a short video on the construction of the pleated kind that seemed a better design and simpler to make, no pattern required, no elastic, no bias tape. Simple job, but the folding chair at my sewing machine is so uncomfortable.

They are designed to be tied behind the head, however when I was making the first ones, I bought a dozen cable locks and slide the two ends through which makes a tight fit and does not come untied.

I have been spinning on the Peacock gradient braid of fiber with my spindles. Last night I finished spinning the first two colors and plied the yarn. I wasn’t happy with the twist, it was too loose, so this morning, I ran it through the wheel a second time and careful not to over twist, put more in. It is 190 yards of very light fingering weight, it is only 47.78 grams.

When the gradient is finished, it will become the yoke of a sweater for me with the body and sleeves, the gray Shetland that I have been spinning. There is more of it waiting for a turn on the wheel, I got tired of spinning it on spindles.

The reddish wool that I have been spinning on the tiny spindles is being knit into a lacy edged shawl.

The garden got a couple of Bull Nosed pepper starts and some basil. There is more basil started from seed and it will be added to the garden as well and some dill started also from seed.

I had to replant the corn bed. Then it got two heavy rains, so I am hopeful that it will come up this time. The seed is not from the company I generally use, but it is packaged for this year and I didn’t do a germination test first. If it doesn’t come up this time, I will do a germination test.

The tomatoes are being trained up 7 foot poles as a single leader per plant so suckers are being removed every couple of days, the tomatillos are also being trained up poles, I don’t need them sprawling all over the beds. The peas are heavy with pods, the tomatoes have blooms, the onions have bloom buds on top. The potatoes are getting large. I need to top them again with more soil and then start piling on spoiled hay. Spoiled hay needs to be put on the asparagus bed and soon a containment rope will be needed to contain their ferny tops away from the other beds and the paths.

Morning Song

Last evening as the night chores were being done, the sky had this gorgeous pink swathe in the sky.

As I was planning last evening’s meal, the frozen green vegetables in the freezer did not appeal. I knew I had among the last of this spring’s harvest of asparagus, which I love, but are not favorites of hubby, I remembered that 4 of the plants in the row of spinach I had planted survived the chicken onslaught a few weeks ago. A quick pop over to the garden and the two smaller heads, a handful of pea shoots, and a couple of asparagus that had emerged were harvested and a salad plan was made. Fresh raw spinach with pea shoots and shavings of the most delicious vintage aged cheddar cheese and a mild vinegarette. A nice fresh from the garden addition to dinner.

The morning chores were greeted by the song of the cicadas that have emerged up the hill in the woods. I stopped during my walk yesterday and recorded their sound. In our south woods or in the tall hay, a gobbler was sounding his call. No traffic sounds, no jets like I grew up with, just natures calls and bird songs.

Soon there will be fresh peas, the two beds are full of white blossoms.

The potatoes look like they need topping again. I am excited to have potatoes in the garden again this year, though they aren’t a long keeping variety, they will be enjoyed fresh, maybe a few small ones will be able to be dug from the edges when the bush beans are ready, that is a delightful combination.

On summer mornings, when I go out to turn the hens out, I carry a hoe with me and in the cool of the morning, the weeding is done. More mint was dug and pulled this morning and I realized that I had not put down cardboard around the potato bed and covered it, so that task needs to be undertaken. Though I don’t like plastic in the garden, that feed sack is tucked under the edge of that bed and will have to remain there until the potatoes are dug unless I can tug it out before putting down cardboard and spoiled hay.

More spring flowers were cut last night for the dining table. The Dutch Iris are blooming now that the Bearded Iris are fading, the Coreopsis is blooming and lots of Comfrey flowers.

I am a failure at flower arranging, but love a bouquet of fresh cut flowers on the table during the season.

After chores last night, I finished spinning the second bobbin of the gray Shetland and plied a very full 4 ounce bobbin. There is still about 6 more ounces of the wool, some on the two bobbins that didn’t fit on the plying bobbin, so I will weigh them, subtract the bobbin weight, divide the remaining Shetland so that each of those bobbins end up with 2 ounces and spin and ply another 4 ounces. I think there is plenty now to knit the sweater for me for next winter.

It was spun with a pattern in mind, then I bought this Peacock gradient braid and I think a yoke style sweater with the Peacock at the yoke and the gray below would be stunning, so now I am in a quandry.

This morning is cool enough for a light hoodie, too cool to enjoy my coffee on the deck, so maybe I should take advantage and though I have already spent some time in the garden this morning, I should put down the two paths of cardboard and hay and put a layer of mulch on the asparagus bed that will now be allowed to send up it’s pencil thin ferny shoots to feed the crowns for next year’s harvest. The cycle of life.

“When the power of love, overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendricks

Rainy Day Activity

Bertha has been providing us with rain all day long. Another front has stalled over our area and we are looking at 3 or 4 more days of rain on our saturated soil and full creeks. Another flash flood warning is in place. We are high above the creeks and sloped, but flat enough hopefully to not have mud slide activity, though there has been a lot of that including destroying a property and making a home uninhabitable in our tiny village.

With my spindle spinning, I am participating in a spin along using only the Jenkins spindles. Since I had filled them all a couple of days ago, I elected to report my results for the month and wait until June 1 to work with them again. I have a new to me spindle due in the mail tomorrow or Friday and received a gorgeous braid of wool a few days ago that I am anxious to begin spinning. To occupy my time, I have been using my wheel to try to make a bigger dent in the pound of gray Shetland that I have been spinning on spindles for two months. And knitting on the shawl that has been on the needles about that long. The first Shetland bobbin is nearly full and I will fill another before plying. The shawl was finished tonight, soaked and is pinned out to dry. I played a bit of yarn chicken with it and finished with only about a yard left, not enough for another row.

I have enough yarn spun to begin my sweater, but knitting a sweater when the weather is hot is not something I want to begin. With the current pandemic cancelling events daily, knitting more items for my shop seems futile, there won’t be craft shows and holiday markets this year. Most people don’t want to buy knitted or woven garments online without being able to handle them, try them on. I have a knitting request from a family member, but it will need to be superwash wool, which I haven’t purchased yet, and it is another sweater. Maybe I will just work on the Shetland, perhaps even one spindle that I can clear before the first of the month. We are going to be indoors for a couple more days, but I did get a bit of weeding done in the walled garden between rain showers today.

When the rain ends, I plan to make a compost bin to put in one corner of the garden. If I can make it sufficiently large, I will gather the composting material from where I moved the chicken run and use it as a base to finish composting along with kitchen scraps to have it ready to supplement beds as they get harvested and replanted. I really hope to fill the freezer and the canning shelves with homegrown produce for the winter season.