While the only spinning I did today was while walking with my spindle I’m happy to report that the second skein of Greenwood Fibers roving turned out great. I love chain-plying as I spin singles on a spindle but it’d been ages since I’d chain-plyed with a wheel with it taking some time to get the hang of smoother, less bumpy joins.

All in all, I’m very pleased with this skein.

The skein soaked in very hot water with some Dawn dish soap for about 10 minutes to set the twist then rinsed twice in cold water. A big thirsty towel was used to press out all the water then the skein hung to dry. Having worried that I was adding too much twist while plying, I was delighted that it hung almost straight down with barely a twist. Sometimes it pays to go with the gut instinct.

This yarn is soft with a firm hand. It will have excellent stitch definition and should be great for cosily wrapping around a neck to ward off winter weather.

Fiber: Greenwood Fiberworks 50% Merino / 50% Silk combed roving
Colorway: Mallard
Yardage: ca 400+

Yesterday was one of those days of poor decisions and forgetfulness.

Arriving at Haymaker’s parent’s place for his birthday celebration we discovered that we’d left his presents at home. I own the oversight: Ed loaded the car with the bag of jarred produce that Aurora had helped me can this summer as well as overseeing locked doors, cat out, grabbing the car keys. I got sidetracked gathering a knitting project and completely spaced on the gifts.

There were other incidents that don’t need elaboration. Bless Ed’s heart, he was so patient with me!

Today is Haymaker’s birthday so late this afternoon I buzzed into Silverton to deliver the presents to my daughter.  Ed and I had taken Violet birthday shopping for him on Friday and together wrap the gift she’d chosen for him. She was so excited about it she wanted to take it home and give it to him right away.

Driving eastward to home there was a wide column of billowing thunderclouds blazing white in the sunlight towering high above the Cascade Mountains. They glowed against a deep grey background of heavy rain clouds. I should have taken my camera and tried to capture the glory. There were areas where the sunlight turned the white clouds into opals.

Looking at the mass of darkness with the dazzling whiteness interposed on it I thought about how the people living in the areas underneath only perceived the stormy darkness. Our place is tucked into a small valley, the ridges on three sides block much of the sky, limiting our view. How often do we see only the dark over us when not that far off is incredible beauty if one takes the time to step away from the limited field of view. I can get so dragged down by the heavy black cloud that seems to have swallowed everything.

Then I was reminded that God always sees the whole picture: The entirety of all light, color and beauty far surpassing the darkness. My soul feels solace in such a thought.


(Photo taken late August in the morning. Imagine the lowering sun shining from in front of this cloud with all the sky behind it a deep grey.)

We ate fresh strawberries today. Fresh as in picked from a local farmer’s field and brought to our son-in-law’s birthday celebration. Oh my, were they ever a delicious treat! Haymaker’s sister plunked an entire flat = 12 boxes, what we used to call halicks when I picked berries back in the day.
(Poor quality picture taken by Ed on our cheap cell phone – which only gets reception when we’re away from home.)
IMG0066BI’m not a fan of strawberry jam, syrups, pies or any forms of strawberries except for freshly picked ones. Perhaps it was all those childhood summers of picking them for money, occasionally eating one as I crept along the row made me quite choosey about ripeness and flavor. There’s nothing to equal the flavor of a strawberry ripened to perfection right off the plant. These were just as I prefer them; a tad on the green side which makes a happy tartness. Steady Autumn rains moved into the valley yesterday. The coming week of cold rain will bring a quick end to this fabulous mid-autumn treat.

Haymaker’s mom had already whipped up some fresh cream with a bit of powdered sugar for her blueberry pies. Also perfect  for dipping the strawberries. mmm

The clouds turned from grey to splashes of fiery red as we headed north then east early this morning.
The Columbia Gorge is always a beautiful drive though today the overcast sky muted the colors flattened perspective with low hanging clouds obscuring much of the higher ridges. The picture below is of one of the islands in the Columbia River near Hood River. A boat dock and a partially hidden house tucked on the east side often makes me if someone actually lives there or uses it for a vacation or fishing home.
Arriving in The Dalles (rhymes with pals) we took roads that wound up the steep hillside to the venue where the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival is being held this weekend. The CGFF used to be in April which didn’t work so well for us and so last year we decided not to do it. This year the organizers moved the date to November and the venue from Hood River to The Dalles – about 20 miles further east.

The views were amazing! I wish this picture did justice to the majesty. That’s a barge in the center of the Columbia, the John Day Dam is barely visible behind the trees, a white barge has just exited the locks on the left side of the dam. Rugged bluffs are faintly visible in the far distance nestled under those clouds. If it wasn’t for the autumn trees this is a monochromatic scene.

The marketplace space has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the town, river and mountains. People were knitting and chatting in the chairs placed next to the windows.

My first stop was at Cheryl’s NewHueHandspuns booth to ogle over her fibers, spinning and creations..


Our friend, Allison, of AGeary Woodworks has a wonderful space in front of the bank of windows. Next year we’d love to set up next to her. (She’s holding one of the bags that she makes for her excellent yarn swifts.)

Next to her is Christine of Upstream Alpacas with fiber and items from the alpacas she raises. (Ed’s talking with her in this picture.) Today I added another 4 oz of her scrumptious alpaca/silk blend to spin up and add to the pound+ that I’ve already spun with the goal of weaving cloth once I have enough.
It was fun chatting with vendors and having the time to really look at items instead of quickly dashing here and there during brief booth breaks.

I feel in love with some products of new-to-me vendors:
Black Sheep Creamery, the cheese made from their East Freisen sheep is delicious as well as the wool from their sheep.

Mosaic Moon, Morwenna and two of her kids made the trip all the way from Ashland, down at the southern end of Oregon. I couldn’t resist her Polwarth/Silk colorway “4th Doctor’s Scarf” roving.

I’d be up too late if I try to name/link everyone that deserve recognition and I need to be up early to polish the Sunday School lesson I’ll be teaching in the morning.

Looking outside across the valley to the north the glow of sunlight, toward the bottom middle of the picture, caught my eye.

Zoom in and you’ll see the glow is the upper portion of Mt Adams looming above a ridge of the Cascade Mts in Washington.DSC00913

Friday is Paisley day at our place, the day our three year old stays with us. Usually we do some work while she’s napping. Today, not so much. Today we all ended up taking naps.

This evening Ed and I enjoyed a violin / piano concert in Silverton performed by violinist, Stephanie Barth, the concertmaster of the Salem (OR) Philharmonia, and pianist, Christopher Wicks, a lifetime local who is also an organist and composer – his works played in some of the famous churches in Europe. They played Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in B Minor and Beethoven’s Sonata N. 5 in F Major, plus two of Christopher’s Variations on old folk melodies. What a relaxing, enjoyable evening.

I hope you too have had a lovely, relaxing evening!

At the end of July I asked my granddaughter, Feather, if she’d like me to knit her a skirt for her birthday. Together we searched Raverly for the pattern she liked. She chose Piroutte Twirls, without stripes. It had to be purple. I had a lovely skein of purple yarn in stock but not enough so off I went to the LYS, Apples to Oranges (the best yarn store between Portland and Eugen, if you’re ever in the area you should definitely stop, have a cup of tea and some yarn) to plunder the purple yarn section returning home with two skeins of Malabrigo.

I eagerly cast on, knit the waist band, turned it and knit together the last row with the cast on row to make the tube for an elastic. Zooming merrily along for another inch or so the dreaded realization slowly sank in. It wasn’t going to be big enough and the material felt too stiff and tight. I ripped it out, went up a needle size to try again. (Yes, I had checked gauge but it often seems that actual knitting comes out different than the test patch for me.)
This time all was well.

The knitting saw action during a long-awaited concert at the McMenamins Edgefield venue. More about that another post.
DSC00233During the drive to visit the kids at the beginning of October I finished the 2nd tier, added another 1/3 stitches and was feeling positive about meeting the birthday deadline with plenty of time to spare.

Feather was thrilled with the color and how it was turning out. Last year she’d asked me to teach her how to knit so we picked out some yarn and needles then set about learning how to maneuver 2 needles, yarn, thumbs and tongue. This year, upon sitting down to knit during the first evening, Feather brought out her scarf in progress, exactly as it was when I’d left thirteen months earlier. Every evening and first thing in the mornings we sat and knitted together. (I should have asked Ed to take a picture of the two of us knitting.)

Saturday morning I knit on the skirt in the sunshine while watching the kids pounding nails into boards with Papa.DSC00611
Before long Feather was sitting beside me asking if she could knit on her skirt.  It tickles me to no end that she knit a portion of her skirt. Once I’d knit a couple of rows it wasn’t possible to see any difference between her stitches and mine.
DSC00614On the drive home the sun slanted in the window and I discovered a hole part way up the skirt. Mysteriously the yarn was broken! How or when is unknown. This was the second time the yarn broke but the first time was discovered as I took the knitting out of the bag when I joined the Meridian spinners for coffee the Friday we were in Boise. I suspect it somehow briefly snagged in the project bag zip as it was broken between the skirt and the ball of yarn.
Soon the hole was mended and the inches continued to grow. The pattern called for 3 rows of garter stitching before casting off but i didn’t like the way it was curling. My last ball of yarn was getting too small to think about adding more rows so I ripped back and re-knit five rows in garter. Much better though it still wanted to curl some.
A firm laying out after its bath helped the ruffle edge to lie properly.
These two pictures best show the purple color.
It was wrapped and mailed to arrive in good time for her birthday. Feather tells me that she loves it and wears it often. I keep hoping that her mom will send me a picture of her wearing it.

This was such a fun knit, inspire of the few set backs. The yarn had some funky areas that almost seemed like joins but they were numerous and quite small. Very close inspection made me think they were little nibs that had gotten spun into the yarn. Pulling, snapping and stressing those bits didn’t show weakness and they weren’t at all noticeable when knit. Otherwise the yarn was sheer joy to knit.

What a beautiful day it was for a walk! The air was crisp and cold, clouds grouped along the horizon and fog hung over the creeks.

My hands were too cold to spin until after we’d warmed up by walking to the top of the hill.
Looking northward.

To the west. I could almost wave to my friend Michelle of Boulderneigh on the far side of those Eola hills.

A sunlight road not taken. We stayed to the high road this morning.

I hope you all had a beautiful day!

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