Friday, December 30, 2011

A New Year

Well, after celebrating Christmas for over a week there is now a calm moment to reflect on all the wonderful things that have happened this year.   Then on to the New!
First fun thing was putting my hand spun, hand woven and knit things in an Etsy shop.
Then I  started this blog.   I know that as a blogger I am still a newbie with lots to learn.  I am proud of the fact that I actually stuck with it all this time!  I'd like to see if I can improve upon the format, etc, in the coming year, so if you have any suggestions I welcome them.
Mama hen and her three little chicks

I had three eggs successfully hatch and become a fine tasting dinner, a regular layer and a handsome protector of the flock, in that order.

All grown up
We had a fairly good growing year in the veggie garden.

My nephew became an ordained priest and his sister entered a convent.
John's Ordination
The juggling novitiate

This is my niece juggling in her habit.  I understand she is getting better at it all the time and said she wanted to juggle flaming torches!  I think she probably has, by now.

We survived a tropical storm and its accompanying flood.  The storm was a bad part of 2011, but the survival was the good part.
One of the sadder things

And then it was fall and Thanksgiving.  The Bridge was opened and we went across it to have dinner at Becca and Kevin's house.  After dinner we drove back down to it and walked up to the middle of the arch for our post stuffing interlude.  It was cold, brisk and fabulous.   When we got back we ate pie.

View from the Bridge

Now Christmas is winding down.  I look forward to the New Year and all the attending projects I will embark upon.  I already have my first one percolating in my brain.  Annie would love this beautiful shawl that she found.  It is a pattern from Never Not Knitting that I purchased a while ago.  I am going to make it for her out of a blend of white and grey alpaca that will give a heathery look to the yarn once it is dyed.  I don't mind knitting other people's patterns when they are original designs like this.  It will be a fun way to start the year off--then I have a weaving idea taking shape.......gotta go!  Happy New Year to All.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Finished scarf
It really is Christmas now as we have had a family gathering, and I've been to a Christmas luncheon and we have our tree!  So now I just have to get going on baking, cards and gifts.  I have been focused on spinning and weaving the custom scarf, not wanting to hurry it, but needing to be truly mindful of it.  Now it is done and gone and I will be able to do other things.

Pretty lights
Wild and lovely
We went to my folks to cut down a tree for them.  There are many years that my brother comes up from Pennsylvania at this time of year and he will cut one for them.This year said brother was unable at the last minute to come, so Jeff and I went over to do it. The parents have many forested acres that yield white pine, red pine and cedar.  Mostly my mother loves a white pine.  I figured we would have no problem finding one for her.  Dad let Jeff take the tractor, which is  probably the second time he's let him drive it in the 20 years they've lived there, and off we went in search of trees.  Ended up with two lovely, wild, huge pines to offer Mom.  She took one, and yes, I brought home the other.  Totally not the right shape but green, graceful and Christmas! It takes up half the room with its wildness.  I love it; hopefully the girls will not be too freaked out by it.

Cat watching squirrel
Naked little squirrel
Jeff's brother Rob and family were down over the weekend for a Christmas luncheon.  My mother in law  has a trio of misfit baby squirrels coming to her window.  Rob's son is 9 with the handicap of being the only child now at our gatherings.  Luckily one of the strangest of the squirrels came along to entertain him.  And it was very entertaining, especially to the Cat.  The poor little squirrel has our sympathy, but I was grateful he was there to keep the nephew from being bored out of his skull by all us grownups.
Let Christmas now come.  May you all have a Blessed Day, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ,  being with family, enjoying this time of year and hoping that over the week of Christmas you get to be with the ones you love.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas is coming!

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat!
I have been busy trying to get photos and descriptions done for five more things to put in the shop just in case there are people who are looking for original handmade goodies to give to the loved ones in their lives.   I am severely hampered by the fact that my eyes have been giving me trouble due to the fact that my vision seems to have changed.  I was lucky enough to get into the eye doctors this morning and now have a new prescription in the works.  The bad thing is that I didn't want new frames so I had to leave my glasses there in order to get the new lenses put in them.  I am therefore wearing an old pair from a prescription or two ago.  Not ideal circumstances in which to try to use the keyboard!

Weft is beige alpaca and some ribbon trim
Same yarn for warp and weft
However, here are the two scarves I finished from the yarn that I was bemoaning in my last post.  I am very happy with them.  They are two very different styles and both are nice and soft.  It still is a challenge to get them photographed so that the true color comes through, although these look pretty much like they are in real life.
Other exciting news---I came home to find the scaffolding down, the tools gone and the place back to normal as the Roof is Finished!!!! Finally and At Last.  They had actually gotten the roof itself done a few days ago and were working on the clapboard replacements and chimney flashing.  I didn't take a photo yet, but it looks great.  Just in time as we had a snow last night.  I am so happy that we won't get ice dams this winter.
Now I have to get going on a custom order of a woven scarf as I haven't even spun the yarn yet.  I shall be very, very busy.  Am also finishing up a custom order hat which has been tons of fun to make.  And Christmas is coming!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More Projects

Yarn of a different color
I am getting excited about another project for the loom.  The yarn was some dyed merino roving  I had purchased some time ago at a Fiber Festival that I had been using as inspiration for the colorway.  Not being thrilled to look at it anymore,  I decided to try to spin it with the idea of keeping the colors as distinct as possible.  This proved impossible to do, so I took a different tack and blended it with some alpaca.  When it came to spinning,  I was disappointed to find the fiber not as pleasing to the touch as I felt it should be.  However,  I persevered and was rewarded with a tolerable yarn which immediately changed color when I washed it as about a quarter of the dye left it.  Hmmm.  Not happy with that!  Especially as it was the color that attracted me to it.  The final yarn is certainly not what I had anticipated, that is for sure, but like many of my experiments I am confident that once it becomes a finished product it will appeal to someone.   It is going on the loom as I found that having wool in the warp makes a huge difference in the strength of the yarn.  Pure alpaca does not seem to stand up to the stress as well, and fixing broken threads is not my idea of a fun time.
Fingerless gloves
We are going to be in Orwell this Saturday doing another craft show.   It is such a fun time to do local shows as people are really open to handcrafts.  Besides this scarf which I hope to have done for Saturday, I made a pair of fingerless gloves that I really think are sweet.  The fun thing about them is the ribbon I put in every few rows.  One thing I have to keep working on is taking photos of things.  It is not something that I find easy to do, no matter how many Etsy lessons I read on the way to take great photos.  Maybe I will make that a focus this winter.  Sounds like a plan!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

Lovely new roof
There are so many things that I am giving thanks for this year.  I can not possibly list them all, nor would I want to bore you to tears with the recitation.  Here, though, are some of my more unusual ones.
Grateful to have at least half a roof done before it snows tonight and tomorrow.
Knitted lace scarf

Thankful to have these two scarves finished.

Aurora Borealis woven scarf

Happy to have sold three items at Benson's Craft Fair on Saturday.
Thankful to be going to Thanksgiving dinner at the Married Daughter's house.  What a shift in the general scheme of things to be going and bringing pies and wine, instead of doing the whole shebang.  I think it is going to be a real treat.  Plus, she has graciously included MacTavish in that invitation (did she tell you yet, Kevin?) so here is another thing I am grateful for----I found a place nearby that I can (and did) take MacT to that has a doggie washing tub.  So for a mere pittance I could stand and wash him in a very agreeable manner.  It was amazing.  Usually I have to lean over the tub and pour pans of water on him.  This place let me stand up, had shampoo etc all at hand and lovely washing hoses.  I loved it.
Exhausted dog
I don't think the dog did.
I wish you all a Blessed Thanksgiving.  I'm grateful that you are reading this and hope that in some small way I entertain you for a moment.  And now I need to go work with fiber!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dismay and Joy

Slate off, paper on
November First was a happy day.  The men came to finally start removing the slate off the south side of the house in preparation for putting a metal, standing seam one on.  This is an event I had been longing for as we have had several winters of ice back ups and their subsequent leaks into the upstairs.
Not exactly standing seam....
Therefore, when it was a week later and the roof was bare except for the paper stuff they put on it, I was so ready for the metal to come.

And I waited....

November 14, which you will note is two weeks from the first,  the rains came, and they came inside as well as out.  I am not one to complain, much, but having to find buckets and rags to catch streams of water in the night was not my idea of Fun.  Especially since it worked its way down into the built in cabinet in the kitchen which houses pantry items.  Happily, some of the rain got caught in the vases and extra coffee mugs I store there.  Kind of funny.  And, since the Lord is so Good, the rain only lasted for a couple hours.  I was able to get to bed by 11.
Now my house looks like this.
And I am told that Friday the roof will be here.  Not holding my breath.

The Joy?
Daisie Mae

Pretty egg!
Little Daisie Mae laid her first egg yesterday.  It was so exciting!  When hens go to lay their eggs, they kind of sneak off from the rest of the flock to go inside and do it.  I saw Miss Daisie go into the barn, do a walk around, then come out and "sneak" along the side to the coop door.  When I went in later, she was on a nest.  And by noontime, there was the little pullet egg, ever so pretty.  That makes me smile!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Two Scarves

On the loom
I am now working on two scarves--one on the loom and one on the needles.  It is so much fun to see the pattern emerging on the woven one.  It is an old design called "birds eye".  I did a variation on it with the scarf before this.  However I was not happy with the close tones of the yarn I had dyed masking the pattern.  This one is definitely standing out.  It is a pleasure to weave as I dressed the loom using the method lined out in "Warping By Yourself" which makes a huge difference.  The warp is so nice and even.  I love it.
On the needles
The knit scarf is a lace pattern I found in my Stitch Dictionary.  I decided to put a two stitch cable running up the outside edge to help it lay flat, once it is finished.  The hard part about lace is that it doesn't look like anything until you block it.  I threw in the pink for accent and contrast, also hoping that the cables will weight the ends down to keep the scarf in place when worn.  Thought the pink seemed to go with the brown real well.  I am hoping to get both scarves done in time for the Benson Village Craft Show on the 19th.  Gloria and I will have a booth there in the hope of catching folks who are looking for Christmas gifts.  
In old news, we had chicken dinner last week.  It was delicious and once named Brisco.  I am getting better at this flock consumption!  At this point the remaining rooster is doing a fine job of protecting the girls--all but three.  Those hens stay in the coop all day and won't come out when he is around.  They seem very scared of him.  I hope that they decide to join the others soon as it isn't as healthy for them to stay inside on these lovely fall days!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Excitement in the Village

Here is a great story.  My husband is the long time barber here in our little piece of Vermont.  A few years ago he happened to look out his window and noticed a car parked across the street at the local convenience store that seemed odd somehow.  Being the kind of guy he is, he made a mental note of it.  It turned out he was looking at the get-a-way car for a bank robber and the information he gave to the police helped them to apprehend the thieves.   Flash forward to yesterday.  Not being busy he looks out the window, and in the same place notices another car that attracts his attention.  This time he watches the person get out, and when coming back, sees she has purple smoke coming out of her satchel.  He quickly writes down everything about the car, license plate, noting the time, etc.   A short while later he is visited by police, produces his info and less then two hours after the bank was robbed, they have a couple in custody. The Burlington Free Press was the first to acknowledge his help.  I got home and found a message on my machine that an Albany News Station wanted to interview him.  Such excitement!
Jeff,  Barber and Crook Catcher
I am glad that he is the type of guy that won't let it go to his head.  It will be fun to hear about his interviews tonight when he sits down to supper.  I am very proud of him, especially when he insists he didn't do much of anything unusual.  I think he did!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Suddenly Winter

MacTavish surveys the yard
And, just like that! We have winter. Although I am sure we will get some more warm days to melt away this initial output, it is still rather daunting to have two inches of snow before Halloween. Very hard on children to have to wear their winter coats over their costumes. Which they will have to do if the weather man is correct as he is predicting more snow for the weekend. This sounds like it will be more to the east of us. I hope so!  I certainly had not got around to putting all the outside things away.  On the plus side, my commitment for today was canceled and I am going to spend it in the "studio" working on fiber related things. Sigh of happiness.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Designing Day

Finished scarf
Grey and rainy day here.  It could be depressing except that I have too much going on in my brain to let it be so.  I am working on another woven scarf.  The one I just finished is fine, as you can see, but the whole point of the pattern is lost as the yarn colors are too close in tone.  So I am thinking of the next one with a black warp.  And a variation on the pattern as I rarely do the same thing twice.  This also was an overshot pattern which I loved doing.  Thanks to Thistle Rose Weaving for encouraging me in that area.
The other design flailing around my head is something for a birthday girl, so I won't say much about it, just in case she reads this.  I am sure I can get it done by the weekend.....
Sister and MacTavish
Speaking of the weekend, I spent this last one with my sister and her husband.  I was very happy that they took me to the beach as I had not seen that bit of ocean in a long while.  The area off New Hampshire and Maine is always the part of the Atlantic I consider The Ocean.  I know that I saw the ocean this summer, but that was off of Massachusetts.  So it didn't count.   It wasn't The Ocean. The day was glorious.  Half of the sky had thick clouds in it while the other half was deep blue.  It was low tide, so there was lots of sand to walk on.  MacTavish had never seen a beach before.  He thoroughly approved of it.
p.s.  I still have the rooster, but time is growing short for him.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Busy Morning

Apple pie jam
The jam is on the stove, cooking down to a lovely golden brown, thick mass of yumminess so I thought I would take a minute and let you know that I have actually finished a project. 

 The hat was one I made from Addy's fleece, throwing in a few pre-dyed mohair locks and some metallic sparkle.  The resulting batts I spun as lightly as I could.  The result was very pleasing.  I then decided to knit the hat with asymmetrical cables.  Very difficult!! I normally design things it to be evenly spaced--properly balanced.  It was really very hard to consciously put the cables in various places.   I think it came out just fine.  The scarf is still on the loom.  I am going to get a move on that as I have spun some black for the next one, which I have an exciting idea for. Well, exciting to me!  I will share later, after this one is finished.
Meanwhile I am posting on our Neighborhood Forum that I have a Rooster to give away. Yes, the time has come to part the two, before there is any bloodshed or wounded hens.  Which one do you think should go?  I think they are both very handsome, but realistically can only keep one.   We thought we would try a give-away first, if that doesn't happen, then it will be into the oven for him.  Sigh.  The hazards of small flock management!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day Trip

Machinery at work in riverbed
Monday we took the dog for a trip around the state to see how well Vermont was doing a month after the flood from Irene.  Jeff wanted to know if he would be able to hunt in his favorite place as he had heard the road was washed out.  When we got there we found it open.  It looked very recent as the machines were still there, working to reshape the river as it was a mess of trees and boulders.
Man and Dog
We drove up the mountain, stopping for a short walk up an old road to stretch our legs while letting the dog have a run.  MacTavish is in his element in the woods.  Continuing up and over we found several places where the road was still one lane, with a pile of gravel dumped, waiting for the road crews to fill in the washed out places.   Then on into Ludlow where we got grinders to eat down the road.  It seemed like Camp Plymouth State Park would be ideal, so we headed there, only to be greeted by an awful sight--- it had been hit hard by flooding.
Sand filled State Park
We sat at a lone picnic table and ate anyway, as we took in the amount of havoc wreaked by raging waters.  It did not prepare us for what we would see later as we continued our trip towards West Bridgewater.  Some of the road is still one lane, but that is because the other side is being worked on.  It is absolutely amazing how much clean up and restoration has been done in just one month.  The saddest of all is to see the houses that have had to be abandoned.  Just heartbreaking.  I only took a few pictures of those as I couldn't bear it.
When we reached Rte 4 we headed west toward home,  traveling the same roads we did when we were driving through the storm.  It is mind boggling to think how these placid little brooks could become such instruments of destruction.

The day was a beautiful fall day.  It was an awesome trip--not only to see the disaster areas, but to see how much has already been done to repair and rebuild.  I'm glad we took the drive.  Makes me proud to be a Vermonter.
So sad
Fall colors

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Here Comes Fall

Our little booth
Cold, rainy and the leaves are coming down with every breath of wind.  I do believe we have segued into Fall.  I'd like to think it was early, but it probably is right on time.  We tend to use Columbus Day weekend as our "peak" weekend when all the "leaf peepers" come to visit Vermont and give us their money.  We need their money.  There is a great fear that people won't come because they know we got hammered by Hurricane Irene, but the tourist board is hard at work letting them know that we are Here and Ready for Peepers!
To that end, Poultney is hosting its annual Town Wide Yard Sale.  Slots are available on Main Street for those who want to be sure of traffic by their booth.  Otherwise a person can just have a sale at their home. Gloria and I will have a spot on Main Street.  We know that people are really looking for bargains so we use this more as an advertisement of what we have and what we can do.  Sometimes people actually buy things.  Which is always nice!  But it means that I have to be knitting up ideas so that I will have stock to lay out as I sold several things lately.  Selling is always a jump start to creativity.
Brisco and Daisie Mae
I got the chickens ready for the cooler weather.  They now have a heated water bowl in the coop.  I also started up the light I use to lengthen their days.  It comes on at 6 a.m. right now, but after a week or two I will set it back yet another hour.  It turns off by 9 a.m.  This gives the chickens closer to the 14 hours of light they need to keep laying eggs.  Hope it works as they have not been exactly prolific lately.
The Roosters are both getting feisty.  I hate to think I will have to choose between them as they both are getting quite handsome.  As long as they behave I won't have to worry!
Roscoe the Rooster

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Cria is Born

At Gloria's Farm
Last week was very exciting at Gloria's place.   Their alpaca Addy had her first cria.  Addy was the first cria born on their farm and the birth of this baby was full of anticipation.  The little rascal chose not to be born during the middle of the day, which is the usual time for alpaca births, but came stealthily in the early morning hours.  Bud was out in the barn doing the morning chores when he saw this little face poking out  between the bars.  He called into the house and Gloria came out as fast as she could.  She had been getting ready to go to her regular check up with the doctor as soon as the barn chores were done.  They were very pleased with the new one, and after hastily cleaning her off, named her Honeybee and went off to the appointment.
Hernando and Addy
However,  Gloria was sent from the doc to the hospital for tests and a more thorough examination.  While settling in she turned to her husband and said that he had better check that the cria really was "Honeybee" as it occurred to her just then that although she had not seen any bits to proclaim him male, neither did she actually see anything to say she was female!
Low and behold, Bud found out that "Honeybee" was actually "Hernando", his maleness being obscured by the messiness of birth.  Proper cleaning off revealed all.
And thankfully Gloria came home in two days.
That funny story led me to think about spinning up some of Addy's fleece for a lace hat project.  I found a new pattern of lace that is intriguing.  Her fleece is such a pretty shade of oatmeal that I think it will make a nice hat.  Although I probably will end up flinging some other fibers in so it isn't too neutral a color.  The scarf on the loom is coming along nicely.  The new way of warping is great!  I am already thinking of another scarf to do.  So many things, so much fun!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fiber Fest!

Today has started out damp and dreary.   It is, however, surprisingly warm.  It would be better if it were rainy and cool as I am going to go to the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival, and these events are always better for a little cool weather.  That way the lookers become buyers.  I know from trying to sell my own things that if the weather is warm people are not so apt to want to buy wooly things.  I am meeting Annie there, after she gets done with a walk to support Alzheimer's.  Mostly I am going to just get my fill of colors, ideas, trends and generally see what people are dong.  It also is sort of like visiting an art gallery.  There are so many talented people in the world!  It gives me a rush to see the stuff that is out there.  Then I can come home and be "jump started".  After all, this is the time of year for us fiber folk to shine as cold weather will be coming soon and it will be good to be wearing your woolies!  Which I will happily supply you with, right?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Learning New Things

Jesse and Becca
The saying is that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but I disagree.  About two weeks ago my computer decided to be all done with computing.  I was then left to the mercy of public access computers at the Library (what a wonderful service that is!)  and those in private homes until I could replace it.  I sit now at a MacBook.  It is a used, older model but the price was right to let me try one without feeling like I was breaking our budget.   I am slowly learning my way around the thing.   For a long time Apple products have interested me.   Jesse had partitioned the old machine so that I had one side running on Windows and the other on Kubuntu.  I loved the Linux side.  So when the machine died I was sick with the thought that I would have to give in and get something with Windows loaded on it until Jesse would be home and give me back Linux.  It is very hard to wean myself from my tech supporting son but I am determined to do so!  Now I don't have to wait  for him at all 'cause I don't have the dreaded Windows.  Hurrah!  Look--I even added a photo, but I cheated and it wasn't from files on the machine.  I'll learn that trick next.  Woof Woof!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Well the resilient state of Vermont is certainly coping with this flooding in a remarkable way.  Even though the devastation is still keeping people from traveling across the state, every road is now able to support emergency vehicles.   Even in our town which wasn't hit hard, there are many homes with dumpsters in the yard, evidence of flooded cellars or other buildings.  The photos  of the storm damage are astounding.   It doesn't seem possible that some of these roads are now passable.  It is heartwarming to see the resilience of Vermonters.  Everywhere people are helping people, strangers pitching in to help anywhere they can.  It is wonderful.
Dye results
In my little world life goes on per usual.  Although I felt funny to be doing fiber things when others are cleaning up mud and debris, there is no reason not to.  So I spent Saturday playing with dyes.  The color combination I wanted included purple, green and blue.  It is for a woven scarf.  I am thinking that the warp will be the purple and the weft the green/blue.  The pattern is going to be a new one for me.  It is called "Triple Draught Bird's Eye".  Because the scarf will be narrow, I am going to improvise it a little on the edges.  There is only going to be a small repeat, but I think it will be very interesting.  We shall see!  Do you like this color combo?  My only thought was maybe the tones  should be darker and richer.  Any thoughts on that?
Doing her job
One final note.  The chickens are back laying.  For what ever reason they  did not lay one egg while I was gone to Scituate and to the wedding.  We thought it was because it appears that some are molting.  However there are at least two who have started up again.  I'd like to think it was that they missed me!  Probably not.  Just glad they are doing their job.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Story

Scituate Lighthouse
This is our story of Hurricane Irene.
It happened that a dear friend of ours had invited us to her son's wedding.  It was the 27th of August which worked out perfectly for me.   I got home from my wonderful vacation to Scituate on Thursday, washed my clothes and did housework on Friday, then Saturday we headed over to the White Mountains of New Hampshire for the wedding.  Originally we had thought to have a weekend getaway by going over to the coast after the wedding, then taking a leisurely trip home on Sunday.  Annie was staying at the house for us to watch over all the critters so we weren't going to be in a hurry to go home.
However, Hurricane Irene changed all that.
Ty and Alyssa
Knowing that the storm was coming up the coastline we decided to go right back to Vermont early on Sunday.  The wedding itself was very nice with the weather being warm with just a few clouds.  But when we woke up Sunday at 6, it had already been raining for a while.  We went to 7:30 Mass at the little church where Ty got married and headed west immediately.  Stopped for breakfast in Littleton then drove out into the storm.  At that point, and for most of the trip, it was more rain than wind to deal with.
Jeff decided that if the wind was going to come up the Connecticut valley that it made more sense for us to drive over to the middle of the state before we headed south.  If we went through the mountains he figured the winds would be less.
We didn't factor in Torrential Rains.
As we got closer to home the accumulation of water was becoming scarier and scarier.  There were one or two instances of hydroplaning which were slightly unnerving.  The rivers were absolutely raging--even the brooks were wild.  Still, we just kept on driving as it only seemed to us like a fierce rainstorm.  We arrived home safely at about 12:30.
The raging Poultney River
Only to be met by a slightly wild daughter who had been a little frantic not knowing where her folks were. You see, we don't have a cell phone.  And she had been watching the news. Evidently almost as soon as we had crossed many of the roads they had been washed away.  Literally.  Poor Annie viewing the TV coverage of this flooding had no way of knowing we were sailing in ahead of the destruction.  But angels were surrounding us.
Now I'm watching Vermonters digging out, cleaning, coping and making me proud to be a resident of this valiant state.