Tag Archives: Spinning

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.

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.

Productivity

The short spring of this weekend allowed Jim to take a 175 mile motorcycle ride.  While he was out enjoying the weather in a way he enjoys, I got to work outside, which I enjoy.  My chickens’ run expanded from 50 linear feet to 175 linear feet.  The main body of the run more than doubled and I created a 6 foot wide attached run that goes down one of the long sides of the garden.  My hope is that they will help keep the weeds and bugs down from that difficult to mow area.

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The main body of the run now also provides a fence half way along one of the shorter sides of the garden and gives them access to a pile of old compost.  They spent a good portion of the afternoon dust bathing in that pile and digging for bugs.  I wonder how long it will take them to make this area barren of grass too.  Putting weeds from the garden will be a much shorter walk now.

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After coming in totally worn out, I stopped and unpacked my new spinning wheel.  I was so glad to see that as a folding wheel, it came mostly assembled and already packed in its travel bag.  There was very little assembly to do and I was soon able to take it for a short spin with a bit of undyed Shetland wool.  There are 4 ounces of it to be spun, dyed and turned into something beautiful.

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I love life on our mountain farm.

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.