Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday routines

After a fun, but exhausting, day with Annie, am back to the quiet routine of a Sunday.  We had a good day in Albany, the gem show was very interesting with lots of fossils for her to look at and shiny rocks for me.  I got the zipper for the sweater but had to settle for a cream color as there were no blues long enough.  We ate at what is becoming "our" place, a very nice coffee shop with good lunch time offerings.
MacTavish, enjoying the snow
Now it is post church, Sunday paper, second pot of coffee.  I will head off with The Dog to the parents for our twice weekly visit.  Jeff donned his woolies, after snow blowing the 4 inches we received last night off the driveway, and is headed for an afternoon of ice fishing.  The sun is out, so I think this snow will not last long on the roads.  When I finally get back late this afternoon, Mary's sweater is my number one priority. I am very much wanting to get the steek cut so I can start knitting the bands.  I just need to reinforce the second side of the steek.  Am I nervous about the cutting? You Bet!! But I am confident all will go well. I will just take my time.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quiet day

Two lovely brown eggs
When I woke up and saw that it hadn't snowed at all, and here they were predicting 8 to 12 inches, I was a little surprised.  But by the time I fed the chickens and collected eggs, it had begun.  It is now coming down so fast that you can hardly see the individual flakes.  I think if it were a few degrees warmer it would be pouring rain.  A definite quiet, stay at home day to catch up.
Pineapple pie
As I did not get the fleece all washed. Instead I made a pineapple pie*  and a quiche for supper, being called out at 5 to go sit in our local yarn shop to tend it.  Stichy Women is open on Thursday until 8 pm, with 6 to 8 being the social knit hours.  Mary Lee didn't want to close early in case some one came in to knit, so I "baby sat" for her while she was down the street working on a Chamber of Commerce upcoming promotional day.  When she got back at 7, not a soul had stopped in or called, so she closed up for the night.  Worked out well for me, as I got Mary's sweater almost all done--just have to hem the bottom and then do the steek, only that has to wait til I get a zipper.  If all goes well, and this storm clears out by tomorrow, I will be going down to the city to visit Annie where there are lots of places to buy zippers. And seeds. We are going to go to the Gem show in Albany.  It should be a lot of fun.  Almost any time with Annie is a lot of fun!
* I will write up the recipe if you want it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Today will be spent washing the latest fleece from Alnglo farm.  I have gotten half of it done, I think.  I also want to card the dyed locks from Saturday's dye session.  The colors are really sharp, just what I think I want.
Snowy yard
The sun is out, which is great, as there is supposed to be another big snow storm coming tomorrow.  What an endless winter!  I have only gotten out on my skis a few times with the snow so deep and the air so frigid.  These mornings of below zero have worn out their welcome.  I must be getting old and cranky as I used to love winter.  There are definite signs of spring, though, as I am sure I saw pussy willows, and I know that the days are longer.  "When the days grow longer, the cold grows stronger" is an old adage that has proven itself true this year!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Met today with the college student who wants to learn how to spin.  The college in our town has a working farm on it, and one of the courses is entitled "Homesteading".  The students taking this have to learn a particular skill, and it seems almost every year I am asked to mentor someone for spinning.  Although, once I had a young man who was interested in weaving.  Regardless, this newest pupil is going to be fun to work with as she already knows that she really wants to spin, and has been collecting and stashing roving and fleeces in anticipation!  She has clear, attainable goals, and has worked out how to reach them, so this will be just a fun time for me.  The wheel she is borrowing to learn on is a Kromski Sonata, and I sure hope she realizes what a lovely machine she's got.  Must be the person who is loaning it to her trusts her, because I sure would have a hard time letting a newbie use it, if it were mine! As nice as it is, I only covet the way it breaks down and packs into a backpack bag.  My Reeves wheel suits me perfectly--I love it being single treadle and double drive, and a reproduction of an antique. I actually saw one just like it in a museum in Old York Maine that was from 1812.  The only difference was that mine doesn't have a distaff. This is mine in action. 

The Flyin' Bobbin!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Saturday, I dyed

Spent Saturday afternoon with the dye pots.  I chose the fleece from Luxor as he is all white, but not as fine as Warwick, so less susceptible to felting.  I did 7 quart jars, for 7 different shades of pink to blue to purple.  It was very enjoyable, as always.  And the colors are nice and bright.  I am thinking that I will card them all into batts, and starting with the pink, go through the shades and end with the dark blue, all on one bobbin.  My hope is that it will make a very interesting warp when all said and done.

Jars in the dye bath
Locks drying on rack
Meanwhile very cold again.  We put a heater in the hen house as they are very cold in there.  One poor little lady has a bleeding foot, I think because it is so cold that her skin is tender.   I have it up to 31 in there now, but as it is only in the teens outside, 31 is like a heat wave.  I keep telling them that it will be spring soon, and they can go out and run around on grass.  I hope this is true! Even the cats are getting tired of being in all the time.  Maybe that is why I spent Monday morning going over the seed inventory---time to start certain flowers and vegies, believe it or not.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Start again

It turns out that I was extremely short on the merino/silk, in thinking it would do for my warp.  The amount I got, plying it with the alpaca, was just over 100 yards, which is woefully short of what I need. It will make a lovely scarf, I think, and now I am back to square one for my warp.  Toying with the idea of dyeing some fleece in purples and blues, then carding them in varying shades to make a colorful 2nd ply to the gray.  The merino/silk is very subtle, and I think I want a little more color for the warp.

Finished yarn--see the subtle color?
It is very cold and blustery out.  Will do all the errands this morning in the hopes that I can get the dye pot out this afternoon, as no children are expected to be along.  Also am sorting a fleece to get it ready to wash.  This one is Addy, one of my favorites. Long staple, good crimp and a lovely light fawn color.  I love it that I get "paid" by keeping some of the fleece that I clean.  Better than money, somehow.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Today is warmer again--nice break from all the cold.  Jeff decided to let the chickens out early and then check on his bees.  He opened the end of his top bar hive, but couldn't hear any noise.  There were lots of dead bees on the bottom.  He broke off some of the comb they had built, only to find it was all empty.  Does this mean they have starved to death?  He got the bees comparatively late last spring--maybe they didn't have time to gather enough to have honey through the winter.  So we have ordered more bees for this spring, as he really does like having them.  The comb smells wonderful.
The top bar bee hive
Today I hope to finish spinning the merino/silk.  I also need to keep working away at the sweater for my sister.  I am up to the yoke with raglan decreases, so it shouldn't be long now.  Then the infamous steek cutting! It is the Classic Lines Cardigan from KnitPicks.  Keeping me busy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Moonlight calcutations

Woke up in the middle of the night  to the moon shining in the window.  Just lovely, but then I was Awake.  So I worked on the numbers for the shawl I want to weave with this yarn I am making. Thinking about weaving or knitting in the night is so much better than thinking about The Children, or The Parents.  Besides, I find it rather soothing.
I think the shawl should be 24 inches wide, and about 84 inches long.  Big enough to wrap up in.  8 e.p.i. will make it nice and drapey. That translates into 24 x 8=192 x 3=576.  3 yards will be long enough on the warp to give me the 84 inches and some fringe. Spinning 576 yards of each of the alpaca and merino blend seems doable.  I hate it when I plan a project that takes so much spinning I get bored.  Not good!  I am watching  BBC's Middlemarch with this warp, so that keeps me entertained.  Although, so far, I am not connecting with any of the characters.  Wonder why?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Coffee break

Thought I would take a minute with a cup of coffee before I did an hour of spinning.  It's one of those gray winter days that make me feel like I should be hibernating.  Instead, I made myself go out and put the chickens in, got the mail and put the supper in the oven.  Now that chores are out of the way, I can indulge in a little me time.  Am hoping to get this roving spun soon so that I can work on my idea for the warp I have in mind.  I am going to spin a pre-dyed merino/silk roving and then ply the alpaca with it, thus creating color in the gray, but not by carding it in.  I am not sure what the weft will be yet.  One yarn at a time.  And I just agreed to be a spinning mentor to a college student for a class she has this semester.  I must be nuts.
Katy says "Everyone needs a little fiber in their diet".  I like that thought!