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.

Planning and family time

Grandson #2 is still with us for another week, so last night, we had our daughter, her partner, and their three “kids,” 11 to 18 over for dinner. Daughter and I have a team routine to make empanadas and tostones together, plus I had assembled a large salad of goodies obtained at the Farmer’s Market yesterday morning. My spring lettuce, radishes, carrots, etc. are still in barely sprouting stage as the garden was a bit late getting started this year. I love cooking with her and love having the extras over to visit and eat.

While they were here, granddaughter asked me to again do a garden plan for the 6 four foot square raised beds we added to their yard a few years ago. I have been her garden planner since inception. She has been very dedicated to keeping her garden watered and weeded and her Mom enjoys putting up peppers and tomatoes, dilly beans, and any other extras it produces. After they left, I pulled my binder and realized that I failed to keep a copy of last year’s plan, but her Mom texted me a copy this morning along with the wish list of vegetables to grow. Her plan has been drawn out, scanned, and emailed over so their early veggies can get planted out or seeds sown. Later in the spring, we will likely go together to the local nursery to get her tomato and pepper seedlings, and for me to add a few peppers that I only want one of. The plan to fit on the grid leaves out the paths, but she knows that and has learned my shorthand for filling it in.

I get a kick out of helping the 11 year old to learn to garden. We have been at it now for 4 years.

She also plays in a under 12 co-ed soccer team, so we spent an hour after our daily walk out in the sun by the field watching her team, coached by her Mom in their first game of the season. It was a little chilly and breezy, but standing by the field, some spindle spinning was accomplished. That is my daughter/team coach under by hand on the left. One of those speck on the field is granddaughter.

After having lost 4 hens to the Cooper Hawk this early spring, and having at least 1 who has not resumed laying, the egg supply is providing only enough for daughter’s family, us, and a friend getting a dozen every now and then. There were really too many hens in the coop and 9 seems to be plenty as long as eggs are for personal use and not to sell. The hens are approaching 3 years old and a decision will have to be made come late fall whether to replace them with chicks to be laying by spring. If so, how many. If not, the supply will continue to dwindle as they age out.

We experienced the east end of the storms that raged across the US this past weekend. It rained very heavily on Friday, all day, washing ruts in our very sloped dirt and gravel driveway again. Yesterday the wind kicked up and the gust were strong, reaching up to 60 mph during the late afternoon and overnight. We were fortunate not to have any tornados, hail, or loss of power like thousands in our region. There are some branches down, but as our south neighbor recently cut down the dead Ash trees along our south property line and on his side to install new fencing, I don’t see any trees down.

The rest of the week is very spring like with many April showers to help the seedling grow. On toward the last frost date (still a month off) but the weather prognosticators thinking April will be warmer than usual, so maybe this spring will be an anomaly and we won’t see another frost.

Just In Time

This is a part of Virginia that gets at least a couple of several inch snows each winter, once in a while, a foot or foot and a half that prevents us from leaving for a few days as the State 700 roads are the last to be cleared, plus we live downhill about 2/10 of a mile on a dirt and gravel driveway. This winter has been an anomaly. There have been flurries and barely dusting bare surfaces, an inch or two that lasted a mere 6 hours before there wasn’t a trace left. If all the rain we have gotten since September was snow, we would never get out. Each time the forecast says snow possible, weather patterns shift just enough for it to be wintery mix or rain. There is another weather event predicted that could/might unload 2 up to 4 inches late Sunday, but chances are it will just be another cold rain.

As I was walking back from releasing the hens into the yard, you can see a few inches of Daylily leaves emerging and the daffodils in the back garden have buds. The snow won’t bother the daffodils, the Daylilies won’t be too happy, but will be okay. The Snowdrops on one of our walks are blooming. They will be fine, they often bloom in the snow when it happens.

In the fall, during hubby’s early months dealing with the health issues, an online friend offered to proxy shop for a spindle for me from the craftsman who makes the best Turkish style spindles available, Ed Jenkins, Jenkins Yarn Tools. They are in Oregon and only do events within a couple hours from home. Linda bought me a lovely Crabapple Finch, a smaller size that I love and wrapped it in some gorgeous black Merino/Alpaca/Silk blend roving, a very generous amount. About a month or so later, she was going to attend another event where Ed and Wanda were set up and offered again, this time getting me a Lilac Finch, and packed it in the same blend in a camel brown color. Those fibers were spun on the spindles they came with and a shawl/scarf was started for me. Last night, I cast off “Linda’s Hug,” soaked it, blocked it, and because it is so delicate, the yarn spun to 20 wraps per inch or lace weight yarn, it dried over night.

The two yarns were used together and in spite of the light weight (50.94 g or 1.8 ounces) of the shawl, it is very warm with the Alpaca and Silk, just in time for a possible winter blast.

I am ever grateful to the friends I have met through my Jenkins group and also my two local friends who I taught to spindle spin and hooked on the Jenkins spindles. They have been very generous in their time and support first through the Covid lockdowns and then through the early days of hubby’s issues. Each time I wear this shawl, I am reminded of love and concern.