For Christmas, my love gave me a 16″ rigid heddle loom (in pieces). Christmas afternoon, I got it well waxed, assembled, and warped with some yarn on hand. Using the instruction booklet that came with it, I wove the samplet shawl/scarf pattern trying out various techniques. Christmas also brought the announcement that another grandson was due imminently, so I quickly rewarped the loom with cotton to weave a baby blanket and erred in tracking the panel length, so the second panel didn’t have enough warp left to make it the same length as the first. All of that was cut off the loom, ends secured, and the loom rewarped again to make the second panel. The blanket was shipped off to arrive as it turned out on the day the young man came home.
I had some Romeldale CVM that I wanted to weave, but not enough to warp and weft a scarf, but an online friend had some Shetland lamb, Baby Alpaca mill spun in a color that complemented the CVM and so I ordered 400 yards from her. It has been sitting in a bag waiting for me to warp and weave. I really like to weave, but am not a fan of warping the loom. I learned direct warping and that is what the booklet teaches and I don’t have a warping board. Direct warping requires a lot of walking back and forth from the loom to the warping peg. This yarn is fingering weight, so a finer heddle was required which means more warp threads per inch. Finally today, since I don’t want to put anything on my wheel before next weekend’s retreat, I wound the yarn into balls and warped for an 8″ wide, 6′ long scarf.
The warp uses both yarns and the remaining yarn was weighed so the shuttle has enough for each section of the pattern planned. The loom won’t travel with me, but I’m in no hurry to finish this project.
At least I quit procrastinating and got the loom warped.
Our weekend started with a luxury dinner out for our Valentine Anniversary. There are few nice restaurants in our nearest big town. There are more in the nearest city, about an hour away, but this was the first February 14 that we have spent at home that it hasn’t snowed, so we don’t make reservations that far from home. Last year, we went to the same restaurant and having been there several times before we expected a good dinner and left very disappointed. They post their menu a few weeks prior and we gave them another chance. The starter, salad, and dessert are set, but they had a choice of three entrees, beef, salmon, and pasta, each well presented. Hubby got the beef, I got the pasta and we were both pleased.
Yesterday was a quiet day, not much accomplished but some knitting and spinning, some laundry. The coop needed cleaning as did the house. There was no straw or woodchips to use in the coop, we needed dog food, chicken food, and bird seed but didn’t want to go out yesterday.
After a lunch out today, a trip to Tractor Supply took care of all those needs and the coop was cleaned, sprayed down inside and refilled with fresh pine chips. Tractor Supply had 6 pounds of Black Oil Sunflower seed for $7, but 40 pounds for $10. Not sure how I would deal with 40 pounds, the bargain was too great. Every extra bucket is filled, along with the bird seed container and the bag still is about 1/3 full. The house was vacuumed, dusted, and the kitchen cleaned. Between jobs and preparing dinner, the fiber that was being spun on the spindle was finished and a few rows knit on the scarf.
Left is the fat little cop of singles, Merino, bamboo, and silk from Inglenook Fibers; Close to You being knit from Lollipop Yarn, and the fat little cop of the plied yarn. Looks like I’m stuck in a color warp.
The warm winter and lengthening days have upped egg production from 1 to 3 a day, now getting 4 to 6 a day and the yolks are taking on a nice healthy golden orange. This is the first winter wince I’ve been raising hens that there have been any winter eggs.
So far this is proving to be a mild winter, gray and drizzly. It suggests that stink bugs, ticks, and fleas will be prevalent this summer. It is so mild, that the weeds that are usually beat back in the vegetable garden in winter are not only growing, but thriving. Last summer, the garden was a lot of work and I tried to stay on top of the weeding, but was losing the battle with some of them. I never beat the mint bed and the Creeping Charlie is taking over and choking out everything. The garden is also too big for me to keep it all in rotation. I have looked at options for reducing the size, making some of the boxes 4 boards high instead of 2, but the perennials are at the two ends with a 4 X 8 bed of blueberry bushes that finally produced last summer, the 3 barrels that are old and fragile of red raspberries and I fear they would disintegrate if I try to move them and they finally have the raspberries contained at one end. The other end has the asparagus bed that is now 6 or 7 years old and produces more asparagus than daughter, a friend, and I can eat in a season. Those two perennial ends do control the garden size to some extent.
One side of the garden is a pathway away from the chicken pen for about half of the garden length, beyond the chicken pen is one of the worst patches of Creeping Charlie. I have considered pulling down all of the fencing and starting over. If the fencing was hard up against the boxes on the side that the chickens can reach, the length of the garden and if I keep the plantings far enough away from the fence to prevent long necks from reaching through to eat my veggies, perhaps their scratching would keep the weeds down on that side of the garden. The chickens won’t touch the Creeping Charlie to eat, but maybe their scratching for seeds and goodies tossed down there would reduce it. The sides of the garden nearer the house and south of the berries could be reduced and the boards from those boxes used to make the rear boxes taller so they are easier for me to work. The issue there is the post that has the solar charger on it is on that edge, though the charger is dead. Maybe it could be moved with the fence or just be removed entirely. If moved, I could hang a gate on it.
In April, the university has a service day that you can sign up for help. Maybe some help getting the fencing in order for the garden and chicken pen would be incentive to keep at it.
Today’s forecast looks like maybe the thunderstorms from a few days ago are going to be followed as the adage says with some snow to start the weekend. More likely it will be a sloppy mix of snow, freezing rain, and rain with little or no accumulation.
The hens must think it is spring. This week I have had a day with 3 eggs, one with 4, and yesterday I got 5. There probably won’t be any today, but that is okay. This is the first winter I have gotten any from my hens.
The warm weather has had me reluctant to use one of my Christmas gifts, a cast iron bread pan, but this bread is an easy loaf that can be made in just a couple of hours with no kneading, so we had a hot loaf of Herb and Onion bread for dinner one evening.
The drizzle outside, the doctor’s appointments, and now a pair of head colds between us have keep me indoors and instead of warping the loom, I finished spinning 4 ounces of Romeldale CVM that I got from my friend Gail (Sunrise Valley Farm) and got a generous 289.5 yards of light fingering yarn from it. It is now washed and awaiting the arrival of a purchase of mill spun alpaca, silk, wool blend yarn from another friend. The mill spun will be the warp for a scarf or wrap and the CVM the weft. I also spun 3 ounces of Coopworth from another friend, Debbie (Hearts of the Meadow Farm) and got 112.5 yards of worsted weight from it. I have ordered another 8 ounces of Coopworth that may be from the same lot, or will at least coordinate with it and it will become another scarf or wrap. I am going to try to spin some of it tight enough and fine enough to be the warp.
Today after a frustrating attempt to order a rigid heddle book online using a gift card, we went to Barnes and Noble and ordered it there. I hope to learn some new techniques and patterns to work into my weaving. With the 8 ounces of Coopworth to match the maroon above, I ordered another 8 ounces of this
It doesn’t really have a plan, but I have a 4.8 oz braid of BFL and Tussah Silk that might go well with it. I’ll have to wait to see how they spin before I decide.