Tag Archives: knitting

Olio

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

Today the post is all over the place.  First, chickens are mean.  This is the result of the hens establishing pecking order.

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One of the hens has pecked the upper wing of several of the others, plucking their feathers, but not drawing blood.  The shake up has allowed the feathers to begin growing back in.

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Her bare back is the result of the over zealous rooster.  He is picking on the hens in the cull pen now and this gals feathers are coming back out as well.

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Go away and give me some privacy!  I’m trying to lay an egg.

The lace on the shawl on which I was working, did not win!  I did.  The shawl was completed this afternoon as Jim watched the last rounds of the football draft.  I am pleased with the finished product.  It is fairly generous in proportion, the color is rich, and the leaf lace border is interesting.  It is currently being blocked with hopes that it will be dry to wear with a skirt to Mother’s Day Brunch at Mountain Lake Lodge tomorrow.

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It is pinned to a double bed to give you an idea of it’s size.

This afternoon, our daughter sent an adorable picture of her daughter and she gave me permission to share.  I particularly enjoyed the photo because when our daughter, our second child was born, I was excited to have a little girl to dress up.  I took a smocking class and made dresses and bonnets.  As soon as she was old enough to assert her opinion, which was quite early, she always wanted pants, sweaters or t shirts and mismatched socks.  I would buy her skirts for school and she would pull out pants instead.  She was an athlete, playing soccer for years and softball in middle school.  When she found out she was pregnant for the second time, she told everyone that if she had a girl, she would not put her in pink.  She decorated the nursery with a musical theme in greens, blues, teal and brown.  Now that this little princess is old enough to assert her opinion, she chooses skirts and dresses.  This is her afternoon outfit.

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Life and good, I love being a Mom and a Grandmom.

 

 

 

 

Fiddle-dee knit

My crafting has been slow of late.  The knit project that gets the most of my time is Lola Shawl by Carrie Bostick Hoge published in the most recent issue of Taproot magazine, issue 9::Breathe.  The shawl as published is a triangular shawl knit from either fingering or worsted.  I wanted a heavier, larger shawl than I generally make and selected Quince Lark a worsted weight yarn to make it.  After about 1 skein of knitting and looking again at the photos in the magazine, I decided that I didn’t like the way the edge on the shawl lay and feeling adventurous, frogged what I had knit and started over, making the shawl a mitered square shawl instead, using the border that was on the Lola pattern.  Yesterday while we were on our road trip, I decided that the stockinette part was sufficiently large and I wanted to save two skeins for the leaf pattern border.  The lace pattern is an 18 stitch by 18 row pattern and to keep it a mitered square, I needed to keep my increase pattern going, breaking up the border into 3 sections instead of one continuous border.  Row 1 was a piece of cake.  Row 2, the wrong side row is purled and has a P2tbl stitch.  No matter what I did, it didn’t work out right.  Instead of looking it up, I plodded along and realized at the end of the row that it couldn’t be.  This morning, I tinked the entire row of about 300 purled lace stitches and after a well doggie vet visit for our 210 pound baby, I watched a You Tube on how to do the stitch and started again.  This is the most fiddlely lace pattern, but I am determined to make it work.

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At night I have been spinning.  I finished a little more than 2 ounces of Tunis singles in a color called Sebastian.

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This is going to be plyed with a Finn/Jacob that is being spun.

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I’m hoping it is going to make a tweedy yarn.  There is enough of the Tunis that I hope to make enough yarn to knit a rib warmer.

The other task of the day was transplanting the tomato seedlings deeper into larger pots.  They are getting a few hours of filtered sunlight each day and spending the rest of the time under the grow light.  Another couple of weeks and the peppers and tomatoes will go in the garden.

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I LOVE SPRING!

Even high in the mountains, we are beginning to see the squirrel ear leaves.  Because of our very cold winter and spring, everything is blooming at once, all of the trees that normally stagger their blossoms and pollen are exploding at once.  Fortunately, neither Jim nor I seem to be seriously bothered by it.

The chicks have been in the coop for almost two weeks separated from the 4 adults by a frame and net wall.  Yesterday, I pulled back one edge of the net which would allow the chicks to move to the outside of the coop and into the run, but the hole was too small for the adult birds to pass into the secure part of the coop.  It seemed like it was going to work.  The chicks moved about within the coop and the adults left them alone.   I suppose I should have waited a week to see how that worked out, but I didn’t and  this morning, I removed the partition and netting, opening the entire coop including the blocked off nesting boxes, added fresh hay and the chicks seemed to enjoy the additional space.  I removed their food to the run, hoping that they would venture outdoors on their own.  Only one was bold enough to do so and she was promptly attacked by Cogburn and one Buff hen who merciless attacked as I ran from the garden in through the run to rescue her.  One of them had pecked her head to the point it was bleeding and she was desperately trying to squeeze through the fence wire to escape.  She was cuddled and soothed, brought in to have her wound cleaned and treated and taken back to the coop.  One of the hens was inside the coop intimidating the chicks.  I know they have to establish a pecking order, but the pecking was a bit too severe, so I went back to the garage, brought the frame back out and modified it to allow the chicks to move throughout the coop, but making the access too small for the adults.

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By adding another vertical I was able to attach two boards so they can move through the narrow “door” and pulled the partition a few inches away from the pop door so they can squeeze around the edges.  Hopefully no one will be injured again.  I also gave them back their food inside for now.  I guess they need a few more weeks of growing so their size is more similar before I try again.

Today is cooler than the past few days and it is windy, but still a nice day to be in the garden.  The peas are growing nicely, the garlic looks healthy and today I added 8 cabbage plants, 8 curly kale plants and 8 rainbow chard plants for some greens.

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After planting and watering them, I attempted to put a row cover over them to keep the cabbage moths from laying their eggs on the leaves.  It is up, but not well.  Once the wind dies down, I will have to go out and try again.  The laying hens benefited from my efforts by getting a box full of weeds and grubs to enjoy.

It is so nice to be out in the garden, digging with my bare hands in the warm rich soil.  Nope, I don’t bother with manicures.

Now I am off to fight with a cellular phone company over my Samsung galaxy 3 that gets so hot I can’t carry it in my pocket and only holds a charge for 4 to 5 hours even with the data use turned off.  This is not acceptable as we only have cell phones, no landline.  Then on to knit night with my friends.

Life is an adventure on our mountain farm.

Spinning, not the exercise class

I have been spinning fiber for about 4 years now, starting with a drop spindle and switching to a wheel a couple of years ago.  My first wheel was a restored Ashford Traditional that I bought from a friend who had restored it and learned on it and then won a new wheel.  I learned on it, using it for a bit more than a year, sold it to mutual friend who is a fellow knitter that wants to learn to spin.  When I sold it, I bought an Ashford Kiwi 2 as I wanted a double treadle wheel and used it for nearly a year and sold it to get a wheel that travels better for going to spinning group and for taking when I go to spend a week babysitting with a grand.  My new wheel which I have only had for a few weeks is a brand new Kromski Sonata.  Getting the new wheel inspired me to work through some of the fiber I had collected and have made undyed Shetland wool yarn that is for sale at Greenberry House (www.greenberryhouse.com) in Meadows of Dan.  Then I finished 3 ounces of Merino, spun for a friend.

As spinning is going well, I decided that I was ready to start expanding the yarn making process and wanted to mix some of the Alpaca fleece that I have with some wool that I have, so I bought a set of hand carders from Strauch Fiber Equipment Co. (http://www.strauchfiber.com/) as she is a spinner in the group to which I belong.  I have started blending the Caramel colored Alpaca with a light and dark Blue Faced Leicester wool.

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Today Jim and I took off for a drive and ended up at Olde Liberty Fiber Faire (www.olfibrefaire.com/).  From that I came home with a big red cloud of hand carded Tunis wool and a bag of dark colored Finn X Jacob to spin and a small pot of garnet red dye to try my hand at dyeing my own yarn.  

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Once I feel that I have a good handle on these skills, my goal is to buy a whole raw fleece, wash it and hand card the locks for spinning into yarn to dye.

I’m sure Jim would have rather spent the day wandering around the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Fest that we passed and watched literally hundreds of motorcyclist headed in that direction, but he spent the day with me.

Tomorrow, my wheel, hand carders, a suitcase packed with clothing, yarn and fiber are headed off for a week of babysitting in Northern Virginia while he stays home and critter sits the 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 20 chickens.  I am leaving him with homemade stew, chili, and goulash so he doesn’t have to eat out each night.

Life is an adventure on our mountain farm, and off of it when we take a day trip.

On a Spinning Roll

I’m on a roll.  In the past couple of days, I’ve spun 185 yards of natural white Shetland wool.  The yarn weight is DK to Sport weight depending on which chart I use, it is 12 WPI (wraps per inch).  As I want both skeins to be 100 yards, I am spinning the last 2 ounces of the Shetland.  Anything that is left after skeining them, will go to my Funky Fiber skein that will eventually be a throw for cold nights.

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This is the first 100 yard, 75 g skein, waiting for a wash.

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Part of the last two ounces on the wheel.

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The growing Funky Fun skein of various fibers and colors.

The hours spinning have cut into knitting and reading time.  I have been on the same book for over a week and progress on my shawl seems to only happen when we are in the car.  Even retired, there just aren’t enough hours to do all the fun things that I want to do.

Rest and crafting

Yesterday was a rainy damp day, still warm, but too wet to do much outdoors.  In the late morning we drove over to the Blue Ridge Parkway and south to Meadows of Dan.  The outing had two purposes, one to see the renovation progress on Mabry Mill, where they have done some repair on the holding pond, rebuilt the old mill wheel and are repairing the sluiceway to the mill.  This is a favorite spot for us to take visitors, the mill is scenic, in fact, several communities throughout the USA use the picture on their postcards which is amusing.  There is a blacksmith, a carpenter that makes ladderback chairs and other objects, a tiny cabin filled with looms and spinning wheels, walking paths along the creek through Rhododendron thickets and other native plants.  The grandchildren love to drive over for part of a day.  The visitor center displays local crafts and sells buckwheat flour, corn meal, and corn grits in commemorative cloth bags.  Each fall, we drive over before they close for the winter and I supply our pantry with these products, sold very reasonably and milled locally.

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This is a prior trip much later in the summer and with a grand helping to do a Flat Stanley shoot.

The other reason for our venture was to take a small supply of my handspun yarn to Greenberry House, a delightful yarn and gift shop in Meadows of Dan to be sold with her other handspun yarn.  She will be selling some of my yarn in her shop.  She sells mostly local handspun yarn, fleeces and rovings, with just a bit of superwash or acrylic commercial yarn for local charity knitters.  The gift shop has local handthrown pottery, canned jams and preserves, jewelry, handmade glasses cases and other fabric items, and a few old collectibles.  The shop is convenient to pop off of the parkway.  The town also has the Poor Farmer’s Market with more gifts, fresh produce, local cheese and butter, and the biggest display of Lodge Cast Iron cookware I have ever seen as well as a deli counter where you can get sandwiches and cold drinks.  There are a couple of restaurants and several other shops as well.  It is a good stopping place if you are traveling the Parkway.

The adventure got my creative juices flowing and when we arrived back home, I spun almost a full bobbin of a very fine single of Shetland wool, natural white.  Once I have two bobbins of it, I will ply it, measure and decide if it is going to stay natural white of dye it.  Perhaps it will be knit into a gift or set aside to be taken to Greenberry House for sale.

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My car knitting and break from spinning knitting is a shawl.  The edge pattern is from Lola Shawl by Carrie Bostick Hoge in Issue 9 of “taproot” magazine, one of my favorites and one of only two to which I subscribe.  Her shawl pattern is a triangle and out of worsted weight yarn, I don’t like the way it ripples around the neck and shoulders, so I am modifying it to make a squared shawl using 6 stitch increase every other row and will use her leaf pattern border at the bottom.  I prefer a shawl/scarf that does not have to be pinned or held to keep it on.  The yarn is Quince and Co., Lark, the color is Cypress.

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Today is sunny and a bit cooler.  There are a few things to be done outside, but at least a couple of hours will be spent with friends at Green Dragon Yarns, knitting and socializing and maybe buying some more fiber to spin.

Finished Objects and UFO’s

I didn’t think it possible to finish Estelle before the cold spring ended, but since we keep getting blocks of frigid days, even some light snow, indeed I did.  I really wasn’t too pleased with it right after I finished it, but a good blocking helped immensely.  It feels softer and drapier, the sleeves are long enough and I didn’t stretch them, the band up the fronts and around the neckline lay much better.  I am glad it doesn’t button, because yet again, I knit up 2 full sizes larger than my bust size and it would pull if it had buttons.  Yes, I did a gauge swatch, several actually since I couldn’t get gauge with the recommended needle so I fiddled with several size needles before getting gauge.  Estelle is a Quince and Co. pattern, made of Quince and Co. Lark in Delft color.

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Yesterday while it was blocking, I sat and moved buttons on the last cardigan I made, the V necked cardi from Ann Budd that also seemed small when complete.  I had purchased some very fine Raku fired clay buttons for it and managed to lose one when I took the train to Northern Virginia to babysit during semester break.  After carefully moving the top one down to the missing space and putting retaining buttons on the backs, I broke one putting my coat over it last evening.  Now instead of 5, I have 3, the broken one can be reglued, but I fear they just aren’t sturdy enough for the sweater.  I purchased some different buttons on my way to knitting last night, so I think I will reblock that sweater after I take the pottery buttons off and then put the new ones on tomorrow.

Sorry for the fuzzy shot, I can’t find the original and copied it from my projects folder on Ravelry.

The Honey Cowl has been repaired and I have almost used one skein of the yarn for it.  I think using half of the second, which would make it the yardage for which the pattern requires will make it too wide for the circumference.  I’m not a fan of bunchy garments around my neck, so I may bind off at the end of this skein in another row or two and use the remaining skein for mitts or a hat.

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My Addi Sock Rocket needles came and I went back to work on the never ending socks, Socks for the Plane is the pattern and I can only knit about two rows with the size 1 needle before my hands ache.  I think they really will be never ending.  I only need a few more inches of cuff to be done with them and I will have completed my first toe up pair, though I have enough yarn left to make them knee hi socks.

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I am adjusting to my new spinning wheel and have been spinning the undyed Shetland wool.  I’m thinking about folding her up into her backpack and going to the spinning group today, I haven’t been in several weeks.

The only other UFO is a reknit of a shawl that I adored when it was finished, but I carelessly left it on my chair one day when our German Shepherd was younger and she chewed a half dollar size hole right in the middle.  I frogged it and started over knowing it will be somewhat smaller due to the loss of the short strands on each side of the hole.  I’ll post it when it is finished again, but it is a throw in my bag and take in the car project and we have no trips planned, so it may be a while.

Spin cycle

The Vernal Equinox found us yesterday with clear sky, warmer temperatures and wind.  It was too windy for Jim to ride, too windy to want to tackle adding ventilation holes higher in my coop, too windy, but so welcome.  Today is warmer and calmer.  We have three beautiful days as the calm before the next predicted snow event.  I get anxious each year to start being outside more, to dig in warm soil, to plant, but truly, it isn’t safe to put much in the ground here other than cold weather crops until Mother’s Day, so I have to wait.  I did start my peppers and some of my tomatoes in flats yesterday.  I ran out of medium before I ran out of pots and seed.

My new spinning wheel arrived at the shop yesterday, but alas, it isn’t open on Wednesday, so I am meeting the owner in town today to pick it up.  I’m excited to put it together and give it a spin.

Today the chicklets are 2 weeks old.  I keep waiting to go into the basement and find them everywhere as they are developing feathers and starting to hop and flap higher up the sides of the brooder.

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Socialization continues with them, with “The Hand” that appears over the side of the brooder and then teases with wiggling fingers, rings, or a small pile of their food to teach them not to fear me.  I don’t handle my birds except when necessary like Wednesday night when 3 got out of the pen while I was out and couldn’t get back in to coop up for the night.  When I arrived home around 9 pm and went over to close up the coop, I found Cogburn and two of the hens in a pile huddled together where the fence joins the coop nearest their ramp back inside.  Each was picked up, slightly ruffled and put inside on a perch none the worse for wear.

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Because of the lack of a spinning wheel and to try to have my sweater finished before the storm next week, I have been knitting only on Estelle.  Last night I finished the second sleeve and picked up and knit the first 2 rows of the feather and fan band.

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I am pleased that it will probably be finished tonight.  Then I have to figure out where the marker goes in my honey cowl and how much of a row I have to tink to get it back on track.  My sock needles that I ordered are in route, so I can finish the never ending pair of socks.  My yarn came from Quince and Co. to make the Lola Shawl in the issue 9 of taproot magazine and I still have the Unplanned Peacock Botanical dk skein to make into something beautiful that will show off it’s wonderful colors.

We are off to enjoy the spring day, Jim on his motorcycle, me to pick up my wheel then work on the coop and run, maybe get a real gate in so that they can’t escape again unless I let them out.  I also need to relocate some of the extra hay that seems to have all worked its way downhill to the end of their run, putting too much mulch around the peach tree and shrub in the run and none up where I enter their pen.

Life is an adventure on our mountain farm.

“Uncle” already

Will it never end?  Winter that is.  The predicted winter storm has already started, several hours before anticipated and it did not start as rain as predicted, but rather a slushy mix of precipitation.

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When I went over to check egg production progess for the day, I don’t want them to freeze as the temperature falls, this is where I found all of the hens.  Huddled under the coop wondering when this cold white stuff is ever going to end.  At least with the lengthening days, their production is up a bit, getting an average of 6 per day instead of the 4 from mid winter.

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The newbies are now a week and a day old and are starting to show signs of tail and wing feathers.  The more feathers they grow, the less I worry about the loss of power killing their heat lamp.

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I didn’t get around to my laundry and dishwasher detergent making session a couple of weeks ago, just made my lotion bars, but this morning, I realized that I was seriously low on laundry soap and out of dishwasher detergent, so I pulled out the recipes and went to work.  I was surprised and pleased after finishing it and calculating the cost, to find that it will cost me less than $.06 per load for laundry and about $.07 per load for the dishwasher.  Since I make my own soap, I know what goes into it and added to it only washing soda, baking soda, and borax for the laundry powder, I have an economical product that lacks any of the sketchy ingredients and it is safe for the front loading HE washer.  The dishwashing powder costs slightly more per load as the citric acid is a tad pricey, but that mix is only borax, washing soda, citric acid and salt, again an economical product without the sketchy ingredients and safe for the dishwasher and the septic tank.  Yes, the process takes about 10 minutes because I have to hand grate the bar soap, but I have a huge jar stored on the mudroom shelf, plus a small container on the washer and one to take to my son next month and I only made half of the recipe.

As the temperature is falling, the stew is simmering, I’m going to light the woodstove and fireplace and sit back and see if I can finish the second sleeve of my Estelle sweater that I am knitting of Quince and Co. Lark yarn.

I can’t spin as I packed up my wheel and shipped her off to her new home in Michigan and my new one won’t be in until late in the week.

Life is an adventure on our mountain farm.

 

 

Solo Time

Today is a beautiful springlike day after snow day before yesterday.  The snow is gone, the day is warm and dry.  The kind of day that Jim has been wishing for all winter.  He was up as soon as it warmed and dressed to ride.  He took off on his motorcycle for a “long” ride and I was left to do whatever I wished.

Today is the day the new yarn and fabric store opened in the nearby town, so for me it was a day to explore.  Lunch alone at Panera, reading, then across the road to the new shop to check it out.  After that excursion, I was off to my favorite local shop to sit with friends and knit.

My current projects, since I finished the baby sweater and delivered it to the Mom to be, but failed to photograph first, are still the Honey Cowl of Green Dragon Terminator in Heatwave color.

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It is coming along nicely, though I found a dropped stitch while I was at his shop and now have to decide how to deal with it.  And my other project is Estelle of Quince and Co. Lark in Delft color.  The body is finished on it and I’m working on one sleeve.  That leaves the other sleeve and the feather and fan front bands.  I am beginning to think it may not get worn this year, but it will be put away for the next cold winter.

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I am considering selling my Ashford Kiwi 2 spinning wheel for a Kromski Sonata that I can pack up and take to the weekly spinning group.  I’m not addicted enough to own more than one wheel.  I was hoping when I got to the Green Dragon Shop to knit that David had not sold all of the fiber he took to Hawk’s Nest last week, he had one I really wanted, but my road trip there didn’t happen as I remembered an appointment that interfered, but alas, he sold every roving he took with him.  Maybe in the fall.