October 30, 2010
The beet tops that were to be eaten for dinner are still out by the garden, forgotten until a few minutes ago… after supper dishes were washed.
This morning the fog was so heavy and moist everything was drenched, but it was past time to finish digging up the root vegetables. Shoes and gloves caked with mud, the last of the potatoes and beets washed and laid out to dry under the covered back deck, I headed back to the garden with a basket and began sorting through the snapped off beet tops that I’d left when we dug up the beets. Bug holes riddled a number of them (we’ve been so negligent) but many looked fresh and delicious. Humming while picking them over I suddenly felt movement in my hair as though something were caught in it. A bird had flown overhead a moment before the squiggly feeling and I feared nasty gunk. I bravely put my hand up and encountered a body which I quickly brushed at, very thankful it wasn’t goop. More frantic struggling ensued in the hair so I grabbed the offending creature and pulled it violently away. To my great alarm it was a yellow jacket which took swift revenge. Flinging it away I watched in horror as it angrily came back at me. Only the cold damp weather befuddling the bee allowed me to out run it.
One summer while picking blueberries with my daughter I was stung on the finger and the field owner taught me to look for buckhorn plantain leaves to chew then put on the sting. It worked wonders! They are a prolific weed throughout my yard with some growing near the garden but I didn’t take the time to look for a plant with the vengeful yellow jacket nipping at my jeans today. I was afraid it was going to call for backup and rally the troops to help it do battle.
It’s been a lovely Saturday, one that I’ve been craving for some time. A bit of physical work in the garden. Originally I’d planned to tackle writing on the knitting needles and spindles that are still waiting on the kitchen table which Ed had brought in from the shop yesterday afternoon–his labors of the week. But we’ve been putting in long work weeks with Saturdays too much like the other five days with hours of work to be accomplished in order to be on top of things come Monday morning. So, other than spending some time going through emails and sending PayPal invoices I ignored the work.
Ed headed up towards Portland in pursuit of more wood so I got out the violin and practice for almost a couple hours. (The finger is only sore at point of sting.) It’s wonderful to be enjoying the violin again. There was a long spell where the muse seemed to be gone and I wondered if I should stop: the violin is a demanding taskmaster. A week ago during ensemble practice the joy came back. I’ve been playing at least half an hour every evening and sometimes few quick moments here and there during the day. The advantage of having the violin readily accessible in its box stand.
I spent some time spinning (more about that in a following post), a bit of knitting, cleaned the bathroom (much needed!) and worked on hairpin lace.
The loom is still empty. I rummaged through the fiber closet to find the cotton warp needed for the blanket had been used up so more needed to be ordered. It took almost two weeks for it to be delivered. (should have ordered it through Woolworks!) By the time it arrived I’d started on a hairpin lace wrap for my friend. It’s been a slower project than anticipated but I’m making it plenty big for her to snuggle in, and best of all, she loved it when I showed her the work in progress.
Yarn: Classic Elite Alpaca Sox – 60% alpaca, 20% merino, 20% nylon 1 skein = 450 yards, I’ll be using two skeins.
I finished spinning all of Picperfic’s hand-dyed Kid Mohair. I used my 14 gram Walnut Aegean spindle for the second half and easily spun it all up with room to spare. I’m in love with my Aegean! (Ed still hasn’t had time to make enough to put up on our website but there’s a picture of a batch as well as a picture of all his styles of Turkish spindles.) So light, fast and yet efficient, effortlessly holding more than three times its weight in yarn. I believe that if the fiber hadn’t run out at 52 grams it could have easily packed on other 10 or more grams. Next time I’ll start with 100 grams and see how much it will hold before it either bogs down or runs out of holding capacity.
It was fun to try a different approach to wrapping the flatter armed Aegean: instead of over 2 under 1, I wrapped the yarn round and round, going over 2, under 2 in a circular fashion, ending up with a type of basket weave that produced a very compact ball when it was taken of the spindle.
Ed is headed for bed and after a couple of late nights (late is 10:30 – 11 with an odd midnight jaunt now and again) it’s calling my name too. If I can ignore the spinning wheel with the newest project. Which is one reason I was up late last night, couldn’t resist the fibery call.
October 3, 2010
Posted by Wanda J under Books
, Weaving  Comments
Lately there’s been several projects on the needles and spindles plus one on the loom. Tonight the weaving was cut from the loom ready to be washed and dried tomorrow and possibly sewn on Tuesday. I’ve been greatly assisted by listening to books. Normally I love working in stillness but this summer I pined for books. While I managed read several it wasn’t enough. On a whim, during the weekend Ed was in Idaho, I purchased the audio book Testimony by Anita Shreve to listen to while knitting Ed’s Whitfield Jacket. I’m haunted by the similarity between that story and the news last week of the death of young violinist Tyler. A heartbreaking, senseless tragedy.
Listening to a book being read took me back to listening to books throughout my growing up years. My mom read to us daily. Teachers read aloud after noon recess almost every day from first grade up through the seventh grade when I had a teacher who was the best reader of them all. He choose books which captivated our attention and imaginations; A Wrinkle in Time; The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (this was in 1969); A Bronze Bow, to name but a few. My children could to listen to me read for hours at a time without getting restless, as long as they had a box of crayolas and paper to draw with whilst listening. (Seriously, we read The Wheel on the School for hours on end completing it in two days when they were once both young and quite sick.)
Listening to a good story made the hours and needles fly! When Testimony ended I searched for an online source and found LibriVox and Elizabeth Klett. This afternoon and evening I listened to the last chapters of Jane Eyre (version 3) as I wove the final inches of the shirt-to-be that was on the loom.Yes, was. It’s cut off and ready for a washing and drying tomorrow then hemming and sewing the sides.The colored yarn is my Limegreenjelly handspun from late last year. When I calculated the warp and weft for the shirt I found that there wasn’t enough handspun for the weft by a couple hundred yards so I also used some black tencel in the weft and silver grey tencel for the warp. After the first dozen inches were woven I wasn’t sure that I liked the results, then Grace came by a couple weeks ago and saw it. Her enthusiasm for the material gave me the inspiration and courage to weave on.
I’d read Jane Eyre as a teen and had only a vague memory of it. Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte’s sister, Emily, was far more to my likening. This time I could scarcely stop and turn away from the story. Listening to Elizabeth Klett’s beautiful, sure voice was as if listening to Jane herself telling her story. I’m now queuing up other books which she has read. No worries about what to do as I listen. There’s still a couple pairs of socks that Feather and Gus are patiently waiting for. Hrmph, more likely they’ve forgotten about the socks I started knitting for them while they were visiting two months ago. They had six skeins of yarn to choose from, I was quite surprised at the yarns they chose. Last evening as I picked up Feather’s down-to-the-heel sock I realized the pattern was lost in the busyness of the yarn so I frogged it and will make plain 2x ribbed socks for both the grandchildren. Once Ed’s jacket was finished I had planned to concentrate on the socks as Feather’s birthday is this month.
Until the other day when good friends stopped by and Mirth asked if I could make her another throw. Years ago she’d had cancer and the heavy wool throw I’d woven for her became her favorite for snuggling under when she felt chilled and exhausted but too sick to sleep. Cancer has once again attacked, she’ll start chemo tomorrow. I’m shooting to get the warp measured and sleyed tomorrow evening and the heddles threaded on Tuesday. If I can work full speed ahead, without interruptions, tomorrow — emails answered, paperwork tended to, and packages mailed (eiyeiyei tomorrow’s to-do list is looong) maybe I can free up some normal work time during the daylight hours on Tuesday when it’d be much easier to thread the heddles.
Lots of spinning has been happening too. Often enough I’m asked how much yardage I can get on a certain type of spindle. Of course that’s so relative it’s impossible to definitively say, but I should be able to give people a rough idea of how much weight one can handle. Since the Lark/Jay is the relatively newest one* I’ve been spinning some superfine kid mohair I got from Picperfic last year. I wasn’t sure how I should spin this fine fiber until Jay came along and shouted out that it would love love love to spin it into a yarn for a sweater for Feather. (Yes, I know, the whole Lark/Jay spindle thing is rather confusing. The Jay is essentially a Lark but with a shorter shaft which the crossarms sit lower on than on the Lark. So, if you have a Lark you can get a Jay shaft and then you’ll have a two-in-one. sort-of.) The mohair and Jay have indeed been a happy union and I’ve been having a blast spinning.
My loaded Jay sitting next to an empty Jay of the same size. There are 57 grams of fiber on that Jay, that’s 2 ounces! By the last few grams I was trying to wind more onto the shoulders and sides instead of upwards since the shaft was slowly disappearing. I could have put a few more grams on it. This kid mohair has been a joy to spin that more has been spun in the last two days. I’m so eager to make a little jacket for Feather it’s hard to stop spinning. The colors are so bright and cheerful that I decided not to take the chance of muddying them when plyed so at the suggestion of Pam of Herndon Creek Farm (she is such a sweet loving woman!) I will be spinning grey alpaca to ply with the mohair singles. Right now the plan is to weave the yarn then slightly full and brush it for the jacket. Half the fun is in the planning!
With all these projects and listening to books (and blogging!) there’s been little personal computer time taking place. I’ll feel like a stranger when I finally make it back to Ravelry. Must do so soon for I have an International Moleskine that’s needing to go forward on its journey so I’ll need to check in there. I’m almost afraid to open Ravelry and get lost down the wayward tunnels of threads.
* the chip-carved one is still in the wings while Ed is making numerous spindles, hooks and needles for store orders.
October 1, 2010
Who sends a fax with private personal information without double checking to verify it’s going to the correct number? Late this afternoon a fax with someone’s entire 200_ tax returns, schedules and all, came through our machine. There was no accompanying paperwork showing who’d sent it or where it was faxed from. Crazy. Twill be fodder for a fire.
Woo hoo! Ed’s sweater jacket is finished. After binding off the last edges on the 19th it took almost two days for the blocked pieces to dry. In the meantime I knit two of the front pockets to sew on after seaming the parts, only to have Ed nix the idea. Once dry the neck stitches were picked up, the collar knit then the side and sleeve seams tackled. Surprisingly I actually liked the seaming process. Cold damp weather had settled in for several days so sitting under a very heavy wool sweater jacket was lovely. It’s not the neatest job but with experience I’ll improve.
After completely finishing it I soaked it in warm water, rolled it in a towel and smooshed it hard then spread it out to dry. It might still be wet if Saturday hadn’t turned warm and sunny day. I even tossed it in the dryer for about 10 minutes hoping to encourage the moisture to leave. That was a bit scary and I’m glad I didn’t leave it in for very long. There was room for shrinkage but I didn’t want to felt it.
It’s big on him but he likes to wear sweatshirts underneath sweaters in the winter and he’d emphasized that he likes lots of room. If I’d paid strict attention to the pattern notes, and had had faith in them I would have continued with the size I’d first started knitting but moved up one size for fear that it’d be too small.
While I’m happy enough with the buttons, and Ed likes them, I’ll keep a look out for pewter buttons.
Pattern: Knitspot Whitfield Jacket Loved it!
Yarn: Briar Rose Fibers Robusta It’s a bulky, heavy yarn 1 lb = 500 yards! It will keep Ed toasty warm this winter.
Needles: Size 7 & 8 wood circulars made by Ed.
Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival was this past weekend. I look forward to this weekend all year but had to stave off pangs of guilt as Saturday dawned bright and beautiful – the perfect day for catching up with yard work and garden maintenance. Ed declared that they’d be here next week and that I needed to go enjoy spinning. We delivered spindles to a couple of vendors then Ed returned home to work while I played.
Stay tuned! For OFFF happenings.
Ed standing in front of the gravenstein apple tree reminds me of a couple of pictures taken in early August when the Grandkids were here.