Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Interesting Factoid!

 I made a big ole blunder on my website.  I sold a pair of socks twice.  After sorting out that mess, I actually ended up with an order for two pairs of socks to be made.  So I cast on the blue ones Monday, January 28.  Four weeks and two days later, both pairs done.  The striped pair are fancy-pants socks with a zig-zag rib that I had to pay attention to and use a counter.  Of course, I am well aware that I would have starved to death if I relied on knitting socks for a living.  I am sure whatever knitting ancestor that lives in my house would scoff at my complaints.  But my hands are tired, and I am not knitting a sock for a while.
My other weird thing are these lovely merino skeins.  I finished them, washed and blocked, and put a photo on Facebook.  They are now winging their way to a new home.  A friend saw them and bought them within minutes of my putting their photo online.  I didn't get to love on them very much.

Nothing else of note.  We have had two very wet, sloppy snows in eight days time.  Nothing all winter, and wham!  here's your winter precip all at once.  I truly am not complaining about anything wet that falls from the skies.  We need the rain and moisture however we get it. 

I did get a burst of planting-itis during the warm spell we had.  I bought some seed potatoes, and I coveted the packets of spinach and lettuce.  I swooned over the packets of summer flowers.  Luckily I can remember that I have seed, and that we are still in drought.

This week has been the usual 30's and windy.  Normal gray skies.  It keeps me inside to do the work I need to do here.

Now that my commission is completed I have to get organized and plan for the show in April.  I want to increase my inventory quite a bit.  I have been spinning every day, but not a lot to show for that.  I am spinning some pretty rough Romney that I dyed with marigolds.  It is neon yellow-at least a very bright yellow.  The wool is neppy and so it has lumps in places.  I can't pull everything out as I go.

I have been watching a BBC show called Monarch of the Glen.  It is a wonderful series that played for four years, yet not here in America.  I love it.  The actors are wonderful, I like the storyline, and it keeps me spinning while I watch.

So move over February-here comes March.  It seems strange to think that two months have already passed in this year. 

Have a good weekend.  Enjoy the sunshine when we do get it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

That Beats All!

Just as I finished the previous post, I got up to plug in the batteries.  I looked out and it is snowing! 

It Must Be Time!

Time for the Snow Tire and Daffodil Festival!  It has been really warm and windy, and now the new front is supposed to bring a mixture of rain, sleet, freezing rain, ice, and who knows what.  I worry about ice on power lines more than anything else.  I do need to recharge two of my batteries before then.  Isn't this crazy.

Blogger is again not letting me upload photos.  I wish they would get their s__ together. 

I finished one pair of the commissioned socks, and I am on the heel of the second sock on the second pair.  I want these to be DONE!  I am so over the sock business.  I am dreadfully behind in my inventory for the fiber show in April.  Oh, well.

I am also spinning along on the merino I got from HandHeld.  It is gorgeous stuff.  I am almost finished with the second skein's singles.  Then plying, then DONE!

I have had a minor little bug, and my head is full of fluid.  I mope around from room to room, but I am not sick enough to go to bed.  If I am in the front room, I knit.  If I am in this room, I spin.  I did lie down a little while yesterday and read my good book. 

It is really dark outside.  I hate the waiting part of a storm of any kind.  There is a frenzy at the bird feeder that is a telling sign that weather is moving in.

Not a whole lot going on.  It is that time of year where the anticipation is more exciting than the actual weather.  It isn't Spring yet, but soon.  We have had a bit of rain, which bodes well for us.  We are still in drought, but hopefully we will have a wet Spring to help out.  I am debating about planting Spring greens-lettuce and spinach.  I have seed potatoes, but not yet on that. 

Noodles has really been hunting lately, but so far he hasn't brought any kill into the house.  Today he is curled up in bed.  I bet his leg aches.  Mine does. 

Stay safe.  I am going to plug in some batteries and line things up just in case.

Friday, February 15, 2013

It's Winter Again!

I hate to complain, but it is winter again.  Yesterday I was sitting out on the deck in short-sleeves and knitting.  Today I am bundled in my wool and staying indoors.  The front came in from the North and brought bitter wind with it.  I know I shouldn't complain with all the messy weather everyone else is getting.

We were supposed to get snow this week, but it never made it to my yard.  Tonight is a chance of some more, but I am of the opinion of "Wait and see."

In the meantime I have spun the most luscious merino that I bought at my LYS, HandHeld Knitting.  I bought two different rovings to combine into a "painterly" skein.  I divided them into halves, and the first half is on the blocker as we speak.  I will get a pic as soon as I can.  I still have to spin the second half, but I am on it.  It is sitting in the chair in front of the spinning wheel.

I have put all knitting aside to complete two pairs of socks that were commissioned by a friend of R and H.  I am thrilled to have turned the heel on sockie 2 of the blue pair, and I am going slowly on the second brown striped pair.  I am so ready for this to be done.  I have lots of knitting to do, and this has put me behind on that.

I will be a vendor at a show in Missouri in April, and I have to get moving on my inventory.  That is why I am behind in the knitting.  I am doing fairly well on the handspun yarn part, but still need more variety.  I decided last night to spin some white skeins (bare naked) and not have all dyed skeins.  I don't know if people will like them, but I think probably it will give more choices.  I can always dye them later if they don't sell.

I am getting a little bit nervous about going on the "road" again.  It has been many years since I did that.  Then I was a production weaver and sometimes spinner.  Now I am so not into production work and I am primarily a spinner.  I will only do "one of a kind" work now.  No more production work.

I also am not going to become someone's personal knitter.  I am only doing these socks because of her friendship with the kids.  I did my friend G's vest because he is a close friend and he appreciates my work.  He has a lot of my hand knit stuff, and he takes care of it.

I have had a little stomach bug this week, and that has been a bit of unpleasantness.  I have only been two places to get it-the grocery store or the weaving guild meeting.  So I have been close to home this week and not going out.  I still have occasional queasiness in the stomach, and I eat crackers to get over it.

I read there is a new virus now in Great Britain.  Great!  Keep telling me about all these new viruses!

I did make a batch of scones this week, so I have them in the freezer now.  I really like this recipe that my friend C gave me.  It is easy, fast, and delicious.  I put cranberries in it.  Yummy!

I have finally made a decision to start baking bread again.  I may not make the best in the world in the beginning, but eventually I will get back to what I used to do.  It is part of my decision to know the ingredients in my food.  I have lots of stuff I have saved over the years, including my baking stone.  It will all be good!

So here I sit in my studio with the soft hum of the heater going and Patty snoring in her chair. The wind chimes are tinkling outside in the wind.  It is time to turn on Netflix and start spinning. 

It will soon be time for Spring.  I think we are just anxious to get going, and the poor plants don't know what to do here.  The skunks are moving around quite a bit now, and I have seen hawks dancing together in the air.

Soon March will be here and we will actually be anxious to get warm again.   Have a good weekend!  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Things Are Strange Here!

I woke this morning with a light rain.  I know that some time I did hear thunder way off in the distance, but this was a light Spring rain.  Is it late March yet?  Not according to my calendar.  I have bulbs already sprouting above ground.

Also I have been opening my door and airing the house more.  It is glorious to sit out on the deck on the south side of house in the sunshine.

I also have been watching my two neighbor hawks swirling around in the sky calling to one another.  It is truly love in the air.  Last year they mated right in front of me while sitting on the white oak tree.

I am experimenting with a black bean dye.  I have been reading a lot about using this bean, but never considered it.  Suddenly I have to see what can be done.  I have soaked the beans for 48 hours.  I strained off the liquor and now it is sitting and settling. 

I am premordanting my wool (BFL).  I know I made a B in chemistry a long, long time ago, but I am not a patient chemistry geek.  Normally I just throw in some mordant in the dye pot and hope for the best.  This time I am actually trying to do it right.  I measured the wool, measured the alum, measured the cream of tartar.  I simmered for one hour.  I am now letting it cool in the mordant bath.  This is taking way too long for me, but I am trying to do it right.

In the meantime, I am soaking the beans in more water.  The first soaking only gave me 2 quarts of liquor.  So this will probably be a weak dye-maybe.  So I am going to strain off the next soaking and add to the dyebath when time comes.

So far I don't know what will happen.  I know there are gray spots on my counter.  The liquor looks like blackberry juice to me.  Supposedly I am going to get a blue color.  We'll see.

This is part of my road to dyeing with natural dyes more this year than the chemical ones.  It just takes a long time and big ole mess to do it.

I have to go check on my wool.  Let you know how it comes out.