Tag Archives: Spinning

Olio – September 5, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

The Rainbow Ranger chicks have exceeded 2 pounds each at 4 1/2 weeks, far outgrowing anything we have to use as a brooder. They are getting feisty with each other, chest bumping and pecking. They are mostly feathered and it is still warm to hot during the days and mild at night. They were requiring twice daily brooder clean out, had gone for a week without supplemental heat in the garage, so a decision was made today to relocate them to the auxiliary pen, confined to the chicken ark. We did concede to put a tarp over the sides and will keep our fingers crossed that we don’t lose them now. Again I vow to let my hens do the work of raising chicks from now on or we are going to have to build a bigger outdoor brooder with electricity so we can put the heat lamp in it.
The March hatched Buff Orpington pullets are almost all laying finally. We are getting 8 or 9 eggs a day and thoroughly enjoying having them again.
Between canning tomatoes and cleaning chicks, I have found time to finish my Hitchhiker scarf.

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And spin and ply 383 yards of Merino wool into an interesting DK weight yarn.

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Now I need to decide whether to sell it, or create something with it.
When we had a cool evening two weeks ago, I pulled out my Elise sweater I knit last year and determined that it pulled at my shoulders because it is just a bit too small for me.

 

 

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I don’t have anymore of the yarn, nor do I want to reknit it as I have two other sweaters currently on needles and they are both shades of blue or teal, so I am trying to decide it’s fate.  My options are to try to sell this hand knit sweater for little more than the cost of the yarn, to try to trade it for spinning fiber, or determine if there is a relative smaller than I that would like to have a hand knit sweater that has to be hand washed.

Last weekend, I broke my second tooth of the summer.  The first required a crown and that tooth still hasn’t been finished, a temporary crown in place until mid week.  When I called the dentist, they were able to get me in yesterday and fortunately this one only needed a filling repair for now.  Being a molar, it likely will eventually need a crown as well.  I have 6 already and lost one crowned tooth because of repeated gum infections between it and the adjacent tooth.  I hope that with dental repairs and care, I will retain most of my teeth as my 91 year old father has.

It has been a good week and we continue to love our life on our mountain farm.

 

Sew Pretty

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My baby girl (well, she a big girl now with two kids of her own, but she will always be my baby girl) and I text back and forth often.  Short little conversations, just keeping up.  Oh course we talk on the phone too, but not daily.

A couple of weeks ago while shopping at one of our two natural food stores, I found the blue market bag on the left in the top picture.  It is a One Mango Tree bag, made in Northern Uganda.  One Mango Tree provides sewing training, steady jobs, a daily meal, school fees stipends for children, bicycles, etc. and the bags are eco-friendly and fair trade.  I texted a picture of it to my daughter.  She at some point had purchased one off of their website to use as a purse and decided it was too large for that purpose.  She asked me how big mine was as it was sitting on the back seat of my car full of groceries and I measured it when I got home.  It is about the same size as hers, but has a matching fabric strap where hers has a braided handle which she says hurts her shoulder when it is full of market goodies.  I asked her what she was looking for size-wise to use as a purse and she gave me the dimensions she was seeking and told her the style of bag would be so easy to make, that I would make her one.

Last Wednesday on my way to knit night, I stopped at the fabric store and selected fabrics in the colors that she likes, taking photos and texting them to her (we live 850 miles apart).  Once the outside fabric was selected via text message, we started on the lining and the questions about whether she wanted it stiffened with Pellon.  She didn’t know what Pellon was but did want it stiffened to use as a purse.  On my way to get bias tape, which I didn’t use, I found a card of buttons that matched perfectly.  The sewing supplies sat in my spinning chair for a week.  I haven’t spun or sewed all week, though I did start a knitting project and read two books, worked in the garden and yard.

Yesterday, I did make a pattern out of butcher paper and added it to the pile.  Today after lunch, Jim went out to do a bit more with the weed wacker and I set about to make the purse.  About an hours worth of cutting, ironing and sewing and my baby girl has a new purse.  A few texts back and forth for her to see it compared in size to the other bag and to decide whether she wanted the button and if so as a decoration or functional and she is happy.  I have plenty of the fabric left and think I will make her a matching market bag them mail them off to her instead of her having to wait for us to visit much later in the summer.

Spinventory

I’m on a spinning roll.  As soon as I finished the Random Colors Merino last night I started on a top of Romney that has long color gradient.

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It starts with yellow and moves through sunset colors to midnight blue.

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After reading a Yarn Harlot post quite a while ago, I have wanted to try to spin a long color gradient yarn and I found some lovely tops at The Homestead Hobbyist on Etsy.  After dividing the top down the middle lengthwise, I spun two bobbins beginning with the yellow and ending with the midnight blue.

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The result after plying today is a skein 136 yards long of light worsted yarn, named Midday to Midnight.  What else could it be called.

Once it was finished and I was rummaging around in my fiber basket trying to decide what I want to spin next, I decided that I really should put my inventory on Ravelry in my notebook.  If you are a knitter or crocheter, please feel free to browse, http://www.ravelry.com/people/Mountain-g-mom, maybe something will catch your eye.  Some of my yarn is for sale at Greenberry House in Meadows of Dan, VA, some I still have here and can’t decide whether to use it or sell it too.  At least, I now know what I have on hand, well most of it, there is a sampler of fiber that are tiny hanks that haven’t been spun or inventoried.  They will likely be added to my Funky Fiber yarn that will some day become a knitted throw.  I didn’t decide what to start.  Perhaps I should finish the Tunis with the Finn X Jacob and have that yarn ready to knit when I get out of the spinning mode and want to make the Rib Warmer for fall.

Olio May 29, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

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Today’s harvest, a bowl of fresh eggs and a basket of chard for our dinner.IMG_20140528_102504

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The beautiful Merino roving became this lovely 125 yards of Navajo plied yarn.  I can’t decide whether to make a scarf out of it or put it up for sale.  It has been soaked is currently drying.  It seemed appropriate to Navajo ply it as the book that I am currently reading is

Navajo Autumn, R. Allen Chappell

Navajo Autumn

The morning was humid, but not too hot, so some more of the breezeway flower bed was weeded and more mulch applied.  A few more mornings and that task will be complete.  The afternoon turned stormy, thunder, lightening and heavy rain showers, so the garden is getting a good soaking, but no work in it.

 

 

Payback Day

Yesterday I played, all day.  After the spin in and potluck, I came home and finished the last few yards of the Finn X Jacob roving and started plying it with the Red Tunis.  I ended up with 230 yards of lovely yarn to add to the 202 that I had previously spun.

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Today Jim took off on his motorcycle around 10:30 a.m. and I started on some house cleaning, trying to rid the house of a few pounds of dog hair.  I took a break for lunch and then tackled outdoor chores.  Mowing first on the tractor around the house and between the house and barn, then with the lawnmower to get closer to the house, around the garden and chicken pens and also around the fruit trees.  The tractor will do most of the orchard, but not close to the trees.

Yesterday at the spin in, one of my friends gave me a handful of sweet potato slips, both white and orange and I put them in water overnight to perk them back up.

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I wasn’t sure where I still had space in the garden and I still hadn’t planted the Seminole Pumpkins and the winter squash and while I was working I had a flash of inspiration.  Last year when I started raising chickens and bought straight run chicks from Tractor Supply, I ended up with more than my share of cockrells and needed to do something about them until our eldest son could come build the chicken tractor.  I lined one of my 4 compost bins with chicken wire, put a tarp over the top and fenced in pen in front of it.  I was delighted that they cleared all of the weeds out of it.  This year when I got the 10 Buff Orpington chicks and divided the coop into keepers and culls, I again employed the compost bin idea, but put the chicken tractor in front of two of the bins then used two sides of the coop run as two sides of the cull pen and added some more fencing to give them a run too.  Again, they cleared all the weeds for me.  There is still more than a foot of good composed horse manure mixed with chicken manure.  I moved the chicken tractor parallel to the coop, changed the fence arrangement, taking away some of their space, but still giving them a good grass area and two compost bins to scratch in.

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This opens up the two compost bins that they have so kindly cleared for me, leaving me only two young pokeberry and one burdock to dig out.  The bins were forked deeply to blend the chicken manure into the compost and to turn any seedling in and planted 14 sweet potato  slips in one bin and the pumpkins and winter squash in the other.

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Two more 5 X 5 foot beds instantly with nice rich soil.  Now hopefully, the flea beetles will leave the sweet potatoes alone and the squash borers will leave the pumpkins and winter squash alone.  They will all be nice additions to the fall harvest.  The chickens are doing a nice job of breaking up some large stalks in the other two bins and dispatching the weeds.  I do need to dig out some pokeberry and burdock in them.

Tomorrow, I am finally going to put the tomato starts and most of the pepper starts in their beds.

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For now, I’m tired.  Tomorrow is another day I can work the garden while Jim rides his motorcycle to meet our youngest son and maybe his family for lunch a couple of hours from here.

Life is an adventure on our mountain farm.

 

 

 

 

Food and Fun

Today was the Spunster, my spinning group’s annual Spin In and Potluck located in a beautiful valley in our mountains at the home of our delightful hostess and host.  We get to sit around and spin on the lovely porches, socialize, and eat and our significant others are encouraged to participate with us for this event.  An afternoon of crafting, walking the woods, touring their business, Strauch Fiber Equipment (http://www.strauchfiber.com/) and enjoying the delicious food contributions.

Today, I contributed two salad favorites.

Ranch Pasta & Potato Salad

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  • 6 small Red Potatoes with skins on cubed 1/2″
  • 6 oz spiral pasta (approx 2 c) {Gluten free is fine}
  • 1/2 c chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 c chopped green onion, bulb and stem
  • 8 slices bacon cooked crisp and chopped
  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c Ranch dressing (I use the light version)

Boil the potatoes for 3-4 minutes, add pasta and cook about 9 minutes til pasta is soft cooked (not al dente). Rinse with cold water and drain well.  Toss with chopped vegetables.  Blend dressing and toss into salad with bacon.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

This makes about 8-9 cups of salad.  I got this recipe from my daughter, who got it from a friend, who got it from ????  I have seen variations of it on the internet, so I don’t know where to give credit.

My other contribution was:

Three Bean Salad

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I think this one came off a can of beans many years ago, maybe…

  • 1 each 15 oz can of Red Kidney, Cannelini, and Garbanzo beans
  • 3 c chopped vegetables ( I use the other half of the red bell pepper, carrot, onion)
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1/3 c wine vinegar or Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 finely minced gloves of garlic
  • 1/2-1 tsp Italian Seasoning (I don’t buy mixed seasoning, so I use basil, oregano, thyme, parsley)
  • 2 Tbs Parmesan cheese

Drain beans and combine with chopped vegetables.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Blend Olive oil, vinegar and herbs well in blender or with wand blender and pour over bean mixture.  Stir and chill several hours.

This makes about 7 cups of salad.

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There was a lot of yarn spun, some knitting done, much eating, socializing and a beer or two consumed.  It was a delightful afternoon with a wonderful group of friends.

Sunday Thankfullness

A beautiful day.

A visit with a friend at her shop with another cloud of Tunis to spin.  When I am done there will be enough to make a rib warmer vest for this fall.

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Cloud shadows on the mountains.

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A motorcycle upright in a ditch thanks to VDOT’s lousy maintenance that was resolved with no harm thanks to the aid and ingenuity of neighbors and friends.

Glad I haven’t planted the peppers and tomatoes in the garden, we have a frost warning for tonight.

New Friend

Upon my move to the mountains, I quickly met a group of knitters who became my new local friends.  After I had been here for a few years, I took a drop spindle class and thus began a love of spinning.  One day, leaving the public library with my husband, I saw a group of folks in one of the community rooms spinning and socializing, as I looked in they invited me to watch and join them as they meet there every Thursday that the room is available and I began attending not regularly, but met some new people.

Last Friday, one of those ladies that I did not know every well, fell down a slope behind her house and crushed her shoulder.  Fortunately she had her cell phone on her and had the foresight to call a friend who is also in the group and was gotten to the hospital where she had 3 hours of surgery to repair the damage.  This accident showed just what a tragedy can do within a group.  Quickly a group email was sent out letting everyone know and the two friends that got her to the hospital and stayed with her while there, coordinated efforts to assist her as it was her dominate hand and she will be severely restricted for the next 8 weeks.  None of her adult children live in the area, but have made arrangements to be here next week.  I volunteered to help as I could with transportation, making a meal or two, or sitting with her.  Today I was given the opportunity to take her lunch and stay with her for 5 hours this afternoon and she is delightful.  It turns out that we were both raised in Virginia Beach, attended the same high school, though she was several years behind me.  Both have 3 adult children and grandchildren.  One of each of our children live in Florida and one in Northern Virginia.  We both moved from the beach to the mountains as we aren’t fans of the beach and love the mountains and small towns.  We are both knitters, crocheters, and spinners.

While I was there, another spinner brought two prepared evening meals for her and her nighttime helper.

She was so grateful to have someone to visit and talk to as she heals and I am grateful to have gotten to know her.  Having watched my husband heal from a humerus break two years ago, I know that she was not comfortable, but she never complained.  I think that I benefited from the afternoon just as much as she and know I have joined a caring group of friends.

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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Rainy Wednesday

This is the 4th consecutive day of rain and we are sitting in the middle of an area showing the potential for some very severe weather this afternoon.  We should start seeing some sunshine again tomorrow, I hope.  The coop is nasty and the hay is wet, so I can’t add more.  The wind blew the tarp off the round bale just before the rain started.  It will have to sit in the sun for a few days before it will be dry enough to add to the coop.

Each morning as I put my rain jacket and boots on and slog over to the coop, I find all 10 chicks in the smaller third with Cogburn and his Queen, the Olive Egger and the two Buff Orpington hens in the larger 2/3 section.  This amuses me because as soon as I open the pop door, several chicks are pushed out to the ground by the two adults trying to get out.  Usually one of the BO hens comes out too, but the second one seems to have difficulty returning to the small side to exit and needs help.  The chicks then all come over to eat, including the ones who were pushed out.  They gather in the pop door and poke their heads out, but still won’t venture outdoors on their own.

The runs are muddy, thus the eggs are dirty each day.  The garden is soggy.  I hope we aren’t facing another cool wet summer like last year, I really want to get a good supply of tomatoes, salsa, pasta sauce, chili tomatoes, pickled peppers, beans and hot sauces canned this summer for next winter.

The wet weather has turned me to books and spinning.  I discovered a local author and am working his newest book after reading his fourth book last weekend.  One was great, this one is too dark, but both are set in our area which makes them interesting.

Spinning is progress on the 4+ ounces of red carded Tunis wool that I purchased at The Olde Liberty Fibre Festival a few weeks ago.  This is my first experience with Tunis and I think I like it.  I am debating plying it with the Finn that I bought at the same festival, creating a red and dark tweedy yarn.  We will see.  That would give me about 6-7 ounces of yarn with which to knit.

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Tonight is Knit Night and I will go if we aren’t under a tornado warning.

Life is an adventure on our mountain farm.