Writing from the past

So, I am going to write on Saturday, day #1 of TdF, and have it post early Sunday morning. So you are getting a Saturday update on Sunday.

I began my TdF today, but not quite as expected. I had a kid to pack for camp, an appointment for service of my car, and many many errands to run. This didn’t leave me a lot of wheel time. So instead, I pulled out a bullseye bump I’d started some time before, and took that with me, along with a spindle, to have the car serviced.

I spun a spindle full of yarn, quitting when the spindle got boggy.



The blue I had spun previous to this, but figured I should finish this bump before moving on to something else.

I did have the afternoon free, but it was for making lunch, napping, and gardening. Now I am on to making dinner and relaxing, and perhaps I’ll have an opportunity to pull out the wheel tonight. That would be lovely. I also had an opportunity to finish and block a handspun scarf. That hasn’t happened in ages.

For now though, I am off to spend the evening doing weekend type things, and look forward to updating Monday morning after another full day of TdF.

Tour de Fleece Day 1

I am spinning for team Loop. Which means that for this event I am only spinning loop fiber. This is actually a good thing, because at one point, upon discovery of Loop, I went a little overboard. Now I get to play with all that fiber throughout this event and hopefully have something to show for it.

There will, of course, be both wheel spinning and spindle spinning. I pulled out the bumps I will put on my wheel last evening in preparation for today. I am doing a bump and a coordinate, in a 2 ply. I am hoping to not default to totally thin yarn, instead making thicker singles. We will see how that goes.



The bump I am going to spin on my spindles first is something I’ve already started. It is a pastel bump that I do not adore, and I am hoping that spinning it will help me appreciate it better. If not, then I’ve spun it and can move on to something I like better. I didn’t grab a picture of that, will have to do so tomorrow.

If you are spinning for Tour de Fleece, let me know because I’d love to watch your progress! I know a couple of you are, but feel free to comment about the tour, and your team, so I can keep an eye out for you!

Surprise Storm!

I’ve been so bad about my hobbies. In the sense that the biking hobby has picked up in a major way and I’ve little desire to knit or spin. I always struggle with balance.

Bug got quite sick over the weekend. I had to pick her up from school on Friday around 9:30 am. You’d think with the extra time I’d have gotten some crafting done, but I did not. Saturday night she gave us quite a scare, necessitating a rush trip to the urgent care clinic. Thankfully she’s doing ok now, but I was worried she wouldn’t be able to handle school yet, so we stayed home today.

She’s subdued, but she’s playing, rather than laying in bed and sleeping and dealing with the pain of a virus that hit her gut so hard that she couldn’t get any rest or freedom from the pain for 3 days. (I think that Zofran is a miracle drug now, it took a very sick dehydrated kid who was in so much pain her blood pressure was elevated to a kid who was perkier and willing to drink liquids and able to keep them in her system.)

But the surprise of the day was a freak storm that pretty much came out of nowhere. Bug had been sitting on the porch with her doll, and I’d hopped in the shower for a quick moment. I got out of the shower, and Bug was coming inside in a bit of a panic. I stood at the door and watched the tree across the street just disintegrate before my eyes. Branch after branch after branch came tumbling out of that tree and landing so close to my car! They hit our power lines coming down and we had flickering lights, but thankfully nothing hit my car, nor did a power line fall.

Once the storm stopped, I went outside to see some of the damage. It was a pretty wild storm, and really wreaked havoc on my neighborhood, as well as the rest of the city. There are many who are without power, but I am seeing power trucks and hearing chainsaws all over the neighborhood, so clearly the city is on top of it.

This is a picture of the initial tumble of branches during the storm.



Once I got outside, I saw that not only was my road completely blocked, the alley across from me was as well, with branches hanging off power lines. There were also lines down, and power poles knocked sideways.



Another shot from my driveway looking down the street,



And then there’s a tree out back in a neighbors yard that we’ve been worrying about falling on our house for years. Thankfully, it was the other side of the tree that went. That was a very loud crack and bang during the storm.

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I think in the end we were pretty lucky. Again, these storms happen so fast, sometimes with so little warning. I suppose that’s our major excitement this week!


I was able to complete the spinning and plying of the Shetland locks I had combed with my hand combs. I now have 87 yards of worsted weight 2 ply yarn. I think what was most startling about the Shetland was the difference in locks. Some were quite coarse and others were nice and soft. I think I could have done a better job blending them but I was too impatient to see what hand combed top spun like. Lesson learned!


This Beast is Beautiful

The plying project which took me over a week is finally done. It was a beast. Or my attitude toward it was beastly. I haven’t spun such thin singles for a 2 ply in awhile, and the plying took a long time. It also got hot out, so I desired to sit outside with the project less and less. Then there was the camping trip, and the fact that I lost a spindle full of singles entirely.

Even today it didn’t all go smoothly. I thought I divided my yarn evenly for a fractal spun yarn, but apparently I did not. Next time I will weigh them before spinning. I ended up with quite a plying bracelet full of singles to add on to the end of what I’d plied originally.



But, I did finish and with the weather so warm and sunny, the skein dried fast as well. 586 yards of laceweight 2 ply yarn.

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My First Camping Trip….

As an adult.

When I was young, my grandparents used to take my brother and me camping. It was great fun for us, being away from home, away from our parents, and with the cousins in the extended family. I have fabulous memories of that time. There was a lot of rollerskating from what I recall. There was also staying up all night to watch a meteor shower from the screened in tent with all the extended family youngsters. There were a few frustrations as well, the fact that my grandmother was too nervous to ever let us play in the water, so we could never go tubing with the rest of the family. But, none of that mattered overly much because I was way too busy doing all the other fun stuff we did.

However, I also realized that these camping trips, clearly loved by everyone, were a ton of work. They were specifically a ton of work for my grandmother. It seems to me that Grandpa pretty much headed out on the boat to fish with his brother in law most of the day, and I really don’t recall Grandma doing much other than an endless cycle of cooking and cleaning. It occured to me, even then, that this camping stuff was a pretty bum deal for the woman in the family, and thus I vowed never to go camping as an adult.

Yes, from a young age, I noticed the discrepancy, and rather than thinking of changing the prevailing culture, I decided I would change myself to fit the culture. Don’t like it? Don’t do it.

Skip to many years later and a kid of my own. I had an opportunity to go camping with a group of cycling buddies. It’s an annual trip for them. I’d take a day off of work to drive up there, then the entire trip is just the 2 nights of camping, plus tubing on the Niobrara river. Desiring to give Bug some fun camping experiences of my own, I decided I’d do it. Of course, since I was doing this as a single person, all the “heavy lifting” fell on me. As nervous as it made me, I planned meals, purchased food and supplies, borrowed equipment, and we headed out, Bug with a book and a cup of hot chocolate, me with a large cup of coffee.



This all looks fine and good, but to be honest she talked for the next 8 hours straight, so high was her excitement. It was a tough trip up just because of that. The drive up was a bit on the long side. We had to make a couple of stops, including one to pick up charcoal for a fellow camper who had been there for a few days and run out. The nearest store, once up there, is a good 40 miles away. There was also a fair bit of road construction, and on those back roads, it often means waiting rather than using a different route.

We had no trouble at all finding the camp, much to my relief. There were two routes in, and we apparently took the longest one. This was because there were warnings of a washout on the other route, and I didn’t want to get stuck with my little car. After all, there was no cell service at all out there. Thankfully I was told that the route had been recently graded and I’d be able to take the short route home on Sunday morning.



Once there, Bug immediately got to work toasting marshmallows while I set up camp. Actually, this is a bit of a lie, as Bug was quite helpful and involved in the setting up, it all being so new to her she couldn’t help but be interested.

Camp was split into two parts, those who were a bit quieter and had kids they wanted to have sleeping at some point, and those who did not. That was very convenient for me. I think we had 34 people in all, and our group is the largest group the campground gets all year, so we had the best area there, the kids could get right into the river and we could see them just fine. Bug quickly made friends with an adorable little girl 3 yrs her junior and they spent tons of time together. They had a great time just exploring the camp area, and they never got up to any trouble at all. This made life easy for us adults.

The next day was the big tubing trip. We all took coolers and got on a bus and headed out up the river. We were dropped off at Smith Falls State Park. I noticed immediately that the trees were…not what I expected in Nebraska. Aspens in particular I don’t see a lot of out here. So after reading about it and realizing that this is just one pocket where aspens survive here it made a lot more sense.



Bug is down there in the falls, even though you cannot see her well.

After exploring the falls, we were off to set our tubes on the river. My small group was to have 7 tubes but upon our return, 4 of them had been taken. That was quite irritating. We had to, as a large group, really readjust and double up to accommodate the loss of the tubes. But once we did, we hooked ours together, and headed out.

Looked a bit like this:


The day was quite long, many many hours on a tube. There was a lot to be seen on those tubes, wildlife, pretty waterfalls, and there were quite a few places to stop along the way. The best place in my opinion was an island. The river split in two, one way was calmer and the other way had some gentle rapids. We stopped there, there was a ledge under the water where you could walk a long way out into the river, then a drop off. But it was visible. The drop off left you in very swift moving water, so it wasn’t appropriate for Bug, but we did walk out to see it, and I jumped off the ledge.



You can see the ledge drop off right behind us.

This also was an area with large holes in the rocks under the water, which you could get right into and sit down in.



All in all, it was a long but good day. Very relaxing. Pretty tough to keep everyone covered in sunscreen, so there was some burning but nothing major. My favorite part of the day was taking our tubes down the small section of rapids. Both little girls held on and screamed like mad, but were not in the least bit scared. That just made my day. One of the aspects of the trip that made it fun was how all the people who had been on that trip for years were so eager to show us, the new people, all their favorite places on the river and all their favorite things to do.

Post tubing trip, the evening went quite quickly. Bug was exhausted and after her meal crawled in her tent a bit earlier than expected to read and then sleep. I made sure I was as organized as possible after cleaning up from our meal, spent a bit of time with the group, and then crawled into my sleeping bag as well.

We were up early on Sunday morning. There was a rain storm coming in, and I didn’t want to break camp in the rain so I rushed around packing up quite early in the morning. We got on the road, heading out the short cut way, and came across a bunch of free range cattle.



They put on a good show for Bug, scattering at the car, and making a bunch of noise. She loved it, this may have been one of the highlights of the trip. She rolled down her window, hung her head out the car, and exclaimed over everything she was seeing.

After that she kind of zoned out with her headphones.



This was quite the stark contrast to the drive up, she barely said a word on the way home.

I had the enjoyment of listening to a lovely young woman play her guitar and sing some songs she’d composed herself to me on one evening. She was quite good and it was very relaxing. The next evening I got a hug from her and a thank you for listening to her play and sing, completely unexpected from a 16 yr old girl who has never met me before. There were a lot of lovely young people on this trip, and it was really nice to see families all having fun together.  We are in for next year, and already looking forward to it. We’ll take extra time off, be there earlier, and spend extra time relaxing.

(I did knit on the trip actually. Just a bit. It was very enjoyable.)

Here I am!

I know, I’ve been largely silent. We’ve been on a trip, we’ve been busy with activities, and I haven’t felt much like blogging recently. I think I am overwhelmed actually. I’ve got so much to blog about and so little time to blog with. Hopefully I can now get my act together and get a few posts up.

But for tonight, I’ll post the plying job that is kicking my butt.


I don’t know what it is about this one. I am struggling to get through it. I even managed to lose an entire spindle full of singles. That set me back quite a bit, and in that time rather than spinning, I knit. (And looked for my spindle.)

This has been my view tonight, and even with such a lovely view, I am struggling to get this done.


Knitting Again

Apparently a contemplative mood brings out my desire to knit. I seem to suddenly be knitting again, and I think that’s a good thing. As usual, I choose knitting that is uncomplicated, but I can tell as my moods change, so does the speed of my knitting.

If I am feeling a bit angry, I knit faster. I concentrate on the speed of the knitting as I work out and think through my anger. I notice that this doesn’t change my gauge, just my speed. However, the knitting is held closer to my face, and I just fly through it.

If I am feeling down, or just needing to think something through, I knit slowly, meditatively. I feel the yarn running through my fingers, I am aware of what I am doing. Speed is not necessary. I stop often, smooth the knitting out on my lap, look it over, enjoying the texture and sight of it.

I am currently working on two projects, actively. The first is my muji painting cowl. This has been on the needles since April, but has seen just a little action here and there. I kept it at work for a time, and it got some love there. But it is now back at home and I am managing perhaps 4 rows a day. I didn’t have enough of the merino/silk plied with silk, so I had to begin using the merino/silk plied on itself. I’ve been blending it in, and I do not think that it will be terribly noticeable once the cowl is complete. The softness of this is just divine and I think I can get quite a bit of use out of it in the fall and winter.


The other project I just started is a small shawl. I decided to use the merino I recently finished spinning. The shawl pattern is called Maluka. The border is knit first, and then the rest of the shawl is added to the border. You can see that my yarn is only just starting to change color, and it is a very subtle shift. I have 10 out of 33 repeats done on the border.




It is nice to know that knitting is there. Despite the fact that I don’t do it very often these days, it remains an important part of my life.

On a Monday Evening

All day long yesterday at work I looked forward to plying my cloudlover singles. I finished them up Sunday evening and I couldn’t wait to get home to ply.

And then….when it was time to ply, I decided instead to work on combing my shetland wool. I actually finished it up and then worked a bit longer on the spinning of it.



I really am not sure what I will do with this. Leave it as a single? Ply? This is clearly yarn just for the sake of making yarn. Experimentation.

So after that was done, I figured I’d put Bug to bed, and THEN I’d ply the cloudlover singles.

That didn’t happen either. I seem to have a desire to knit lately. It is so unusual for me right now, that I am afraid to look at it too closely, lest it disappear again.  I knit on my Muji Painting cowl, and no plying was done. We will see about tonight.

Jacob Fleece Gradient

It has been now 2 yrs since I picked up my Jacob fleece at the IA Sheep and Wool festival. The reason I know this is because the festival was this weekend, and while I skipped it, I was reflecting on it over the weekend as I spun batts from that jacob fleece.

It wasn’t a great fleece. It was cheap. It had a ton of burrs. It was dirty. Lots of VM. I got sick of it, once I started sorting it, and didn’t want to drum card it. So I separated out the colors, then threw it on the drum carder without flick carding. Because I just didn’t care that much anymore.

And I ended up with big fluffy wonderful batts, despite the fact that I really didn’t take the appropriate amount of care with it. Now I am on to the spinning portion of the project. While it is still a dirty spin, the VM falls out as I spin and I am picking nepps out of the wool here and there, it also spins quickly and I am enjoying the resulting yarn. I just make sure I spin outdoors!

I have just finished the remainder of the darkest wool, spun into a gradient yarn. I am not sure of my yardage, I didn’t count. However, I love that I will now be moving on to the lighter colors. Since I’ve got a ton of light grey to spin now, it might be awhile before I get to any plying again.



Yes, I’ve been a bit quiet. With the rain, biking, and all, blogging hasn’t felt like a priority. Or rather just sitting a my computer hasn’t felt like the priority. However, crafting has been done. Yesterday I had a couple gals over for crafting and mojitos on the porch. My friend Marja brought some wool samples she had received from Loop, not quite knowing what to do with them. I decided to blend them on my hand cards to make rolags for her to try spinning. I think they came out rather nicely and should be good practice for her.


Phat Singles Complete

On Tuesday evening I hung out with Bug and a friend of hers who will be leaving our circle soon. The kids and I made dinner, ate dinner, went out for ice cream, hung out at the house, and then they went to the neighbors to jump on a trampoline. I sat on the porch and finished up my phat singles on the kiwi. It went very well.

I have 215 yards of singles, in a merino. It was a merino braid that has sat in stash for long enough and I am pretty happy to be able to get it spun up.



This actually turned out a bit better than I expected honestly. Between running the kiwi for the first time with a new driveband and making singles, which is a bit of a challenge itself, I wasn’t expecting too much. This did exceed my expectations.

Of course, I immediately put something new on the kiwi. I decided to attempt to teach myself coreless corespinning. It was NOT a great decision for that wheel. It really was not. The hooks catch all the interesting fiber in the batt that I am trying to spin and it gets totally and completely and frustratingly stuck. I may finish out the bobbin I’ve got on there now and then do the rest on the Rose.

Halfway Point

Despite my fear that my spinning will languish due to the biking, that doesn’t seem to be the case. I blame the rain. I am halfway through my printemps braid, and loving the spinning of it!


And also loving the colors so much.

Phat Singles

I keep thinking about my Ashford Kiwi. How I don’t like how it spins at this point, how I want to refinish it, and how I want to make it spin better. Well, I just don’t think time will allow me to take it all apart and finish/paint it at this point. Not yet. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that perhaps just replacing the drive band would get it to a point where I was ready to spin it. So, I did just that.

I’d heard that replacing the drive band with plain kitchen cotton often works quite well for a kiwi. I figured it was worth a try, as I wasn’t pleased with the current drive band. I had Bug give me a hand with the knot, as it was the only way to get it tight enough, but after that, she spun so much better!

So, I decided to actually use her. I pulled out a braid of merino, and decided to spin some fat singles. Sure enough, I can produce lovely fat singles on the kiwi and I don’t have to empty the Rose of its large jacob fleece project. Kinda nice having two working wheels!


Gorgeous Curly Locks

Yeah I get it. My posting this weekend has been pretty low. I just haven’t had it in me. I must admit, I looked back on the weekend and felt like I really didn’t get much done. I think this is incorrect actually, I did get quite a bit done, but between the bike ride this morning and project monogamy in spinning, I didn’t really feel all that inspired to blog. Oh, and it was cold and rainy again, which just saps all my energy.

I could call the cold and rain my fault. You see, I’ve had a basket of raw fleece sitting on my living room floor for about a month. Every once in awhile I’d get a whiff of that raw fleece smell. After a month of that, I can honestly say it gets old. But it rained and rained and I was busy and every time I had time to wash the fleece it was raining outside.

Saturday morning dawned with no rain predicted. so I washed that fleece! And as soon as I was done, it started raining. OF COURSE!

Thankfully today has been a dry day and I was able to get the fleece outside and drying.


This is some of it in an unwashed state.



And the fleece all sorted and washed. You can see that some parts were curlier than others, I tried to group them when sorting so I could use them for different types of projects.

Hopefully I can be a slight bit more productive this week and get a few blog posts up.