Tag Archives: Spinning


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.


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


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.


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



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


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


  • 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


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.


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.


Cloud shadows on the mountains.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


Part of the last two ounces on the wheel.


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.

Maybry Mill

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.


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.


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.