Picking up Dirt

Oh weekend, how I love you! I decided to start my weekend off right, with a 20 minute nap as soon as I got home from work yesterday. By the time I woke up, Mr. Ink was home. He told me he wanted to get the lawn done quickly, because he wanted to go pick up a truck load of compost, and the compost place isn’t open on the weekends. So, we hurried out to do that, and once my portion of the lawn was done, I sat down for a moment to begin plying my latest spinning project.

Mr. Ink rather sweetly asked if I’d like to go with him, and I thought “The weekend’s still young, why not?” So I hopped in the truck figuring he probably wanted to spend a little time with me. We get to the place where he wants to pick up compost, and then tells me that they don’t load it for us. And I look in the bed of the truck, and realize he’s thrown in two shovels. Uhuh. Well played Mr. Ink.

I definitely whined about it, the shoveling of a truckload full of compost, especially since I’d just had my flu shot earlier that day and was a bit sore. However, he shovels two to my one, his upper body strength is so much better, and I told him I’d remember this when it was time to get some good compost or manure for my veggie garden in the spring.

The reality is, we’ll be getting compost all next week if necessary, as this is the last week they are open until 7. And I’ll help. Once home, we began watching the latest season of Black Mirror and I got a lot of plying done, so I still got a pretty lovely evening to start my weekend!

I’ve got some yarn to show off! It’s 2 toned BFL, chain plied, 356 yards.


The colors on it are wickedly rich! It was a very fun spin.

I also have all these lined up and ready to ply.


They were a bunch of small batts, two each, and I spun them all separately. But surprisingly enough, I’ve decided to 3 ply them, making the colors shift in odd ways. We’ll see how it goes, I am about halfway through that project currently.

The mums in our garden are going nutty, which is lovely. Also, the petunias have had a rebirth of sorts, due to one overnight frost, they seem to have lost their budworm pests, and are now blooming like mad. I’ll tell you what, I’d really given up on them!


But, Coco’s memorial tree is looking amazing, the mums are so full now they are covering his stone. We’ve got pink mums everywhere too, but I haven’t gotten a photo yet. (Except you can see them a bit at the top of the yarn photo!)

This weekend is going to be one I am insisting a bit slow. I’ll hang out with a couple girlfriends, spend a lot of time alone, get my spring bulbs planted hopefully, and also move some more plants out of my veggie garden and into more appropriate spaces. I need to get the gladiolas dug up as well as the cannas, though the cannas are still going strong. I think I’ve decided against dahlias in the future though. This area is just too windy, and no matter how well I stake them, they end up falling and breaking and looking cruddy. Maybe I’ll try again in the future, but not next year.

Happy weekend friends! I hope yours is wonderful.

After a couple weeks

My Nahant out of crazy yarn has been finished and off the needles for a couple weeks now. But, I didn’t have the mental energy to block it until this week. Thankfully now that life has slowed down a bit, back to normal I’d say, I was able to get the nahant blocked.

Unfortunately, this late in the season, lighting is rather cruddy after work and nonexistent before work, so getting a decent photo is difficult. Hopefully this gives you at least an idea of the nebula look of the scarf. The nahant pattern is pretty much nonexistent, but it gives the colors a lovely diagonal wave, so I’ll call it good. And really, the pattern served its purpose by making me knit on something mindless and yet interesting.

When it was blocking, Mr. Ink commented on it. He generally does comment on the nahant pattern in particular, it seems to be one of his favorites too. I told him I was, quite frankly, currently uninspired by knitting, and so I thought maybe I’d just knit this pattern over and over until inspiration hit again. He thought this rather hilarious. So I said “Come on, you are an artist, but I KNOW you’ve had times where you are uninspired by painting.” He quickly responded “Yes, indeed I have, and that means that I just don’t paint. I don’t paint the same picture over and over until inspiration hits!” So I mentioned that it’s like painting your favorite picture with different colors each time. But, I don’t think he really bought it! In any case, each personality deals with lack of inspiration differently I suppose. And, I’ve got 3 relatively easy patterns on the needles right now, and I don’t think I’ll be starting another nahant until I clear those out of my works in progress.

How do you deal with lack of inspiration about your hobby?

A Good Night’s Sleep

Isn’t it amazing what a good night’s sleep can do? Or even just an evening to oneself? I got home from work last evening, took a quick nap to “reboot,” then blocked my scarf. Mr. Ink was clearly feeling it too, as he was home before 5:30, which never happens, and off to spend some time working in the yard. We were clearly interested in doing our introverted hobbies. Then we made dinner together early, while having a lovely chat with Miss Butterfly, had dinner, cleaned kitchen, and sat on the sofa with a glass of wine finally catching up with each other. It’s amazing how easy it is to disconnect from a partner when life is throwing curveball after curveball at you, but thankfully a quiet evening easily remedies that. I even slept amazingly well, which is SUCH a relief!


Here’s a picture of yarn! This is about 320 yards of sportweight yarn. I took a grey/black combo and plied it with a loop 3 ring circus cloud, which made a much more subtle black toned yarn with pops of color. This one was quite a lot of fun to ply! No clue what will become of it, but it was fun to make and it’ll be a joy to knit with too, with it’s color surprises.

I suppose someday I should spin 3 ring circus and actually ply it together, but the options for working with other colors were just irresistible. It’s quite a difference from this one that I plied with the fatcatknits batt.


Beginning Again

This is my first day back at work post conference. We have hosted 3 gatherings at our house in 4 days, had overnight guests 7 out of 9 days, and attended a lovely family gathering for Mike. Mike was an artist, and the family had brought in just as much of his art as they could. Rather than tons of flowers, the room was filled with tons of art. It was beautiful, and there were so many pieces I had yet to see. The family also put together a slide show of old photos. Mike had these piercing blue eyes that sometimes felt like they were searing into your soul, and it was interesting seeing those eyes over the years, always the same. We will absolutely miss that man, his friendship and the way he wore his heart on his sleeve, and the bear hugs and affirmations he was so quick to give.

It was also fun to see Mr. Ink’s “gang” of high school friends all together. It’s like they all grew up, and I am looking at adults, but they somehow didn’t quite lose all the punk that they were in the late 80s. We had fun strolling through old photos and even VHS videos that friends had taken way back when, and it was interesting to see Mr. Ink being exactly the same version of himself then as he is now. In fact, out of anyone, he’s probably changed the least. thegang

Mr. Ink got sick of waiting for a firepit (even though that’s his own project, he certainly has been busy with other jobs.) and just decided to drag the pit insert to where he planned to dig the hole in the ground and made a fire.


Now I am back at work, and I always forget just how much wrap up work there is from the conference. It’ll all get done, and probably in good time as I am still in that mode of thinking that there’s absolutely no time for anything so procrastination Just Won’t Do.

I did get my green yarn dry enough to grab a photograph yesterday. It’s 500 yards of 2 ply laceweight yarn, on BFL/silk that has GOT to be superwash but I don’t remember.


It’s definitely a tonal yarn in this case, and it’s very pretty. And very soft. And it absolutely was a yarn that kept my hands occupied while feeling stressed, which really is the best type of yarn!

The house is our own tonight, and I’ve got plans! Plans of cleaning up, and plans to block my nahant scarf, both hopefully before Mr. Ink even arrives home. The jury is still out as to if it’ll be time to mow. I got out of it last weekend due to the conference. But, with the weather in the 80s yesterday and likely to be even hotter today, you KNOW it’s going to grow fast again!

I, for one, am looking forward to a slower week, and a free weekend of gardening in the very near future. Have a great week my friends!

The Race

Yesterday was a day I had been looking forward to for a very long time. It was a bike race day, the participants were attempting 130 miles of hilly gravel and dirt roads yesterday. I was not a participant, but I had decided to volunteer, as two very dear friends of mine organize this race and I know just how much work they put into it.

The participants have to check in at different checkpoints along the route. This helps us keep track of everyone, gives us an idea of how long it’s going to take everyone to get through the course, and makes sure that we have everyone accounted for. These types of races are self supported. Meaning, there’s no food or water provided along the route by the organizers, and the participants are not allowed to have friends or family drive in along the route to bring them food or water. The participants can carry whatever they can with them, and they can stop at convenience stores along the way, but they are disqualified if they have organized outside help. So, it’s quite necessary for the organizers and volunteers to be as aware as possible of how participants are doing.

I drove an hour and a half away from home, into the middle of nowhere, basically a valley at the intersection of two very hilly dirt roads, on an indian reservation for the checkpoint I was scheduled to run. There was absolutely NOTHING out there. Except for us. Our checkpoint was at about 60 miles into the ride, and I was there from 10-2. I didn’t take pictures of riders, as I was busy checking them in and getting reports from them. Who had a flat tire, who missed a turn, who looking like they weren’t doing too well, and who may have dropped out. I was lucky to always have someone with me, and while waiting for the leaders to come through I had quite a few people with me. Including the race organizers, and I snapped a shot of their easy and comfortable friendship as they waited for the first bikes to crest the hill on the route.


These two guys are two of my best guy friends ever. They are amazing people, and I am so fortunate to know them both. I am telling you, nothing could have been more zen for me yesterday than sitting at an intersection in the middle of nowhere soaking in nature, sunshine, and friendship. It. Was. Good.

It’s been such an utterly odd week, to be honest. Between Mike’s passing, and the additional people at the house, and the gatherings of friends in the evenings, and we also found out that another one of my guy friends was in the hospital with quite a serious blood clot attempting to damage his digestive system. (He’s now out of ICU, and on his way to recovery, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a ton of worry during those few days!)

With all that, and with another good friend having had a double mastectomy and reconstruction last week, I think I’ve come to realize that we are all kind of heading into a new phase in life. We are getting older, it’s unavoidable and we are also being forced to stare it in the face. In my brain this year I keep saying “I am grateful our home has been a gathering place for friends and family during tough times, but could it maybe be a gathering place during some good times? Please?” And then I remind myself to be so grateful for the opportunity to provide that for people, and to be in a position where we are able to do so. And that the home is being used for what we wanted it to be used for. And life is truly about cycles, the celebrations and the gatherings of joy WILL come. This has just plain been our season for some tougher stuff.

And now on to lighter subjects. I have two more skeins of handspun hanging to dry. It’s unlikely to dry ANYTIME soon, because it’s so humid here right now, but by tomorrow I am sure! I’ve also got a finished Nahant scarf to block, so that should be featured this week sometime. But while we wait on those two things, I started a new spinning project and it’s basically just thrilling in it’s rich color!

The Good

When times are tough, look for the good, right? That’s what we are doing around here. We had a gathering of friends last evening. I got to meet a friend of Mr. Ink’s that he was very excited for me to meet, and she was indeed a lovely woman. Mike has managed to bring us together in a way, as that’s a friendship Mr. Ink has wanted to cultivate better as they’d lost touch over the years. Mike was the one who always kept in touch with his old friends, and now Mr. Ink will have to put forth more effort in that respect.

In any case, as she wandered through our house, seeing it for the first time, she took a look at my drum carder and was like “WHAT IS THIS MACHINE I MUST KNOW!!!” So Mr. Ink told her about my proclivities, she got quite excited and explained that she, too, is a knitter. I said “Just wait ’till you see the den of slack…” She took one look at the yarn stash and said “Mr Ink, she’s my new best friend!” It was a fun moment. We are headed over to see her house next week, and we’ve got some game nights planned. Plus, we are hosting another gathering of Mike’s friends tomorrow night when Mr. Ink’s younger brother gets in town.

I am, once again, so grateful for the home we purchased. We chose it in part for it being large enough to have gatherings of people, and I know that sounds a bit funny for two introverts. But, as I again flip the guest room quickly for the next guest, and sigh at my lack of alone time, I also feel a sense of relief that we’ve been able to use the home as we’d hoped, despite the fact that many times this year we hosted due to sad situations and life changes. This year has been highly busy in that regard. I do feel like this is a season though, and we’ll be able to host happy gatherings in the future.

Now on to the rest of the good. I’ve been knitting at that conference every other year for 10 years, and have apparently developed a reputation. One of the conference chairs this year, a woman I only ever see at the conference, decided she’d bring me something fun. It was a large bag full of wool!

Now the bad news, it’s not all necessarily something I can use. The white is angora, which I am quite allergic to. So, I’ll need to destash that. The red is very….red. And there’s a lot of it. On the other hand, I also know that I can easily throw that red on a drum carder and add to it so it has more interest for my taste. I’ll have you note though, this woman who is absolutely lovely, clearly has a thing for that red color. Every single day of the conference she had on a piece of clothing containing this very red colored red. And looked great in it! In any case, that was SUCH a sweet gift and thank you for the organizing, and really, only another fiber enthusiast could have picked out such a gift.

Yesterday I did make sure the house was in order, doing 3 loads of laundry, flipping the guest room, making beds, and doing general clean up. As I mentioned, the house is already in good order due to Christelle’s visit, I just had to straighten, which was a relief. I didn’t get a ton of crafting done, because honestly? I just needed time to sit. And I had a VERY long nap in the afternoon, which was so necessary as well. But, I did finally finish a bobbin of the black/grey I was working on that will be paired with the loop 3 ring circus.


In reality, I am not ENTIRELY sure it’s enough, but if it is not, I do have more of that wool, and can throw some more on a bobbin or spindle to finish the project. But today is going to be dedicated to working on plying those green singles first.

Miss Butterfly has today off too. I am looking forward to spending a bit of time with her, she certainly seemed annoyed after awhile that I was working so many hours. But as of right now? She’s doing that thing that 12 year olds LOVE LOVE LOVE to do. Sleeping in. And I am going to let her do just that. We can make some plans later.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

But I’ll leave you to decide which is which.

The conference is over. I didn’t blog during, and you’ll understand why by the end of this blog post. It went well! I repeatedly heard that the quality of the talks were far better than the previous conference, and honestly things ran very smoothly.

My girlfriend Christelle flew in from NY to attend the conference, and fortunately she flew in early enough that we had a bit of time to hang out and catch up on each other’s lives. We saw each other last summer when she came to visit me at my parents home, and I’d say we generally see each other about once a year. So there’s lots to catch up on. She’s french, so one of the things we absolutely insisted on doing while she was here was going to the local french restaurant. We met up with another girlfriend for that, and it was a really wonderful evening out.

Christelle saw boudin noir on the menu, clearly wanted it, but was afraid she would spend the money and it wouldn’t taste right. She kept saying she’s been burned before with french food in the states. So, our other girlfriend got the boudin noir, Christelle tried it, and then immediately regretted not ordering it. Nevertheless, it was a lovely evening with good company and great food.

One of the most pleasant things about Christelle’s visits is that she’s a fellow introvert, so we can hang together talking or not talking and no one is uncomfortable. She had some additional studying to do before the conference, so while she did that I got to do some spinning.


That’s all my green singles ready to go as well as a bobbin of more 3 ring circus from Loop. I am more than halfway through a bobbin of black/grey to pair with the 3 ring circus but that fiber was so sticky I didn’t dare try to spin on it in the 20 minutes before the conference every morning for fear of getting it stuck all over my professional clothing.

Christelle and I also took lots of walks, as she wanted to get her steps in, and took a mild interest in my pokemon go game. On Saturday evening I got bit on the neck by a bug.

By Sunday evening that bite was a mess, huge, ugly, glaring red, and making the skin around it red and hard to the touch. This had, of course, the additional fun of making me highly embarrassed, as I still have quite short hair and there was no way at all to cover this thing up. Prescription antibiotic ointment overnight did help enough to get it pulled down into something I could cover with a bandaid, and helped the red lines crawling up my neck, but it was still a nasty sight. (I am going to go ahead and call this the ugly, because it WAS!)

But, the conference continued on despite my embarrassment. The food this year was really terrible, and I accused myself of being a grown up picky eater. But later Christelle said “You cannot call yourself a picky eater if the food is GENUINELY Not worth eating!” So I felt a bit better. We did have a nice banquet one night, off site, and that food was great. We also had a free night, so Christelle and I went back to the french place and she had her boudin noir.


I did get a little knitting done:


And a little spinning.


In fact, I had given myself the goal of 4 spindles of singles, and that got done.


I took walks when I had the opportunity to keep my brain fresh, and so garden viewing was also done.


(My current favorite shrub, I am hoping Mr. Ink will put one in for me soon.)

There was also a lot of chocolate.

(That second picture is flourless chocolate cake from a local european bakery that Christelle and I hung out at after the conference was over but before she needed to be at the airport. The coffee at that point was amazing too, as our brains were absolutely fried.)

And then there’s the bad. We found out right in the middle of the conference that Mr. Ink’s best friend, who he has known since childhood, took his life over the weekend. It’s…absolutely devastating news. And not completely a surprise. This is a man that Mr. Ink has nursed back to health in his own home from time to time over the years, and a man that we had been considering finishing our basement for in order that he might have a place to stay when needed. To say he had severe mental health issues would be an understatement. But he was also kind and loving, and he truly appreciated us and let us know regularly how much we meant to him. He was free with his kind words, he was free with his “I love you two” statements, and he tried. He REALLY tried. I’ve never met someone dealt such a terrible hand in life who has tried harder. When your brain isn’t a safe space to be, and you can’t ever get a break from that, you grow weary. We’ve understood over the last few months that he was growing weary, but we had also truly hoped he’d be able to continue on, as he WAS absolutely getting all the help that could possible be provided him. It wasn’t enough.

So, to say that my mind wasn’t on the conference is a bit of an understatement. I don’t think anyone could tell, I took a page from Mike’s book and tried my hardest to keep on, and the conference went as it should. But today? The day after the conference? I have put down my own mental load, took off my step counter, and am going to take it as easy as possible. We are going to have a small gathering of Mike’s friends here at the house tonight. I don’t even know if I am supposed to “do” anything besides make sure the house is in order, which thankfully it mostly is since Christelle was just here.

But today is for regrouping, and I cannot tell you how MUCH I have appreciated all of you over in blog land who have been posting. I am so enjoying reading the posts of my bloglife friends while sipping my coffee in a quiet house. That’s all from me today, we’ll talk again soon. I love you all. Be kind to yourselves, and to those around you. It’s very important!