Lakes!

That fat bike of mine just keeps finding lakes to ride around!

On Tuesday evening, Mr. Ink and I decided to ignore Miss Butterfly’s protestations about riding her bike around a lake. All three of us set out in the evening to ride around one of the local lakes. It was an extremely pleasant evening. Cool but not cold. Not so many people on the trail to be annoying. And tons of things to see. We saw many deer, and Mr. Ink found us short dirt trails and gravel access roads to explore. The end of the evening had the two of them down by the shore looking at fish and lifting rocks to see what there was to see. Miss Butterfly turned over a rock only to be horrified at the resulting find. What she felt was an underwater scorpion turned out to be a crayfish.

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When the mosquitoes became too overwhelming to continue and with our rapidly fading light, we headed for the parking lot, all of us a bit disappointed for it to end, and disappointed to get back to real life where watering had to be done and dinner had to be cooked. A very pleasant interlude we hope to repeat often.

Last night was my short bike ride with friends, one of them a newbie to biking in general. We rode around a different lake, and it, too, was extremely pleasant. The new bike rider took a pretty hard fall early on in the evening, when the cars were still in view and I FULLY expected her to say “Nope, not doing this!” but she took a few moments, pulled herself together, checked herself out, and decided she was ready to continue on. The newer rider and I both play pokemon go, so I set up my phone in a bag on my handlebars where the screen was visible. I then would stop for any pokemon that neither of us had. This gave the newer rider ample opportunities to stop and regroup. We made it a very fun evening that way, and she told me that stopping frequently really increased the enjoyment of riding bike for her. So, that’s another ride I hope to be able to do again soon!

Naturally, with work and then bike rides in the evening, not much in the way of crafting. But, I think maybe I’ll be able to pull together a couple of photos tomorrow.

Of Dyeing and Spinning

My weekend was overall quite relaxing. Mr. Ink and I took our bikes out for a ride around a couple of lakes. I think I am ready to start a movement. A Slow Biking movement. I took the fat tire bike out, and just thoroughly enjoyed riding around the lake with no particular mph or time goal in mind. There were puddles. I, quite literally, rode through them like this. I was discussing with a friend who also just got a fat tire bike, saying that I feel it brings out a slower and more playful side, riding my fat tire bike. He completely agreed, having the same experience.

The other nice piece of that puzzle is that I can go ride bikes with people just beginning to take up the hobby and not feel too irritable about the pace. The fat tires hold me back and slow me down so significantly, and the ride is SO comfortable, that any pace a newer rider wants to take is fine with me. And thus, we’ll be riding around the lake with a newer rider tomorrow evening.

In dyeing news, on Sunday I dyed all the remainder of the commercial top, the entire pound. And then I threw in a handful of silk as well.

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I love that olive green so much I ended up doing 4 ounces of it. While I had intended to use all of these for blending, that olive green isn’t ever going to make it to a drum carder.

I’ve got loads and loads of undyed locks that can be dyed at some point, but as of right now, I am done. I put the small amount of dye equipment I had left away in the basement. It’ll be back out in the future I am sure, but I am good for now.

I also finished up my skein of 2 ply yarn made from batts I created myself. It’s 1,085 yards of fingering weight yarn, and it’s extremely soft! Softer than my drum carder should have accepted, especially since I had to do a lot of extra blending to make it look good.

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I love this yarn. I love it SO MUCH! It’s beautiful, it holds interest, it’s soft, it’s got bits and bobs and yet remains overall smooth. This is a yarn I am very proud of!

It seems like I am saying that regularly lately. I think that’s good, spinning continues to hold interest and I continue to learn new things.

I haven’t started anything new yet though. Because once I start a project, I really have trouble stepping away. And these two weeks I need to be concentrating on cleaning up the house for a visitor I have coming in, and the large conference is less than 2 weeks away as well. It may be knitting almost exclusively until after the conference! I can put knitting down just fine these days.

 

Rainy Days

Yesterday was a day full of rain. All day rain. Not really overwhelming storms, just all day mostly gentle, but not gentle enough to be out in rain.

It forced an in day for us, and I think that was best for Mr. Ink and I. I did a bunch of spinning and knitting and dyeing. He pulled out the multiple boxes of paperwork saved from his mom’s house, as well as the stuff he’d brought home from her safe deposit box a few weeks ago, and decided to work out what needed to be saved and what could be let go of.

Now, she had a habit of making multiple copies of everything. When we were cleaning out her house, there were files all the way back to the 1960s and often there were 12 copies of everything. Mr. Ink’s sister in law and I went through that stuff back then and got it down to a reasonable level. However, that reasonable level, which entered our home, combined with what was saved from her apartment and entered our home, combined with the contents of the safe deposit box, means we had multiple copies yet again. Mr. Ink would sit there and exclaim “There are 3 copies of this pointless document!!!!” And I’d sort of roll my eyes because he has NO IDEA that 3 is a pretty good amount, all things considered.

He did manage to bring those documents down to a VERY reasonable level though. The safe deposit box hadn’t been cleaned out in probably 20 years, and there were a lot of pointless documents in there. What goes back will be so much simpler to sift through when it needs doing. And we’ve got a box that we will keep here at the house. There’s an envelope of stuff that’s family history that will go to his brother as well. And then there’s recycle and shred, making up the largest amount.

When I said I wanted to clean out the basement, I had no idea that these boxes would actually get dealt with. I just expected them to move from place to place. So I am WELL PLEASED. Plus, it’s just nice to be in the house on a rainy day, especially if you are doing what you love, and spending time with a person whose company you quite enjoy.

Did I mention the dyeing? I got a LOT of that done.

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Using my crock pot slow dye method, it really leaves plenty of room for other activities. The top 3 are falkland wool, the bottom 4 are masham. The 2 darker reds are SLIGHTLY different colors. One being “vermillion” and one being “plum.” But, they are awfully close. Disappointingly close really. I shouldn’t be disappointed, after all, I am working on more dyeing today. I doubt I can get through the pound of BFL silk I’ve got up next, but I am hoping to make headway.

And, I did finish spinning the 7.5 ounces of singles I had on the wheel.

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They are looking great, I think I am going to love the resulting blue yarn!

Today is supposed to be clear, cool, and comfortable. I do believe that outdoors time will be in order. I can’t wait!

And a Restart

One night of cooler air and good sleep has left me groggy, but ready for the weekend.

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I am still doing a lot of dyeing wool. And I am going to list what the wools are, mostly for my own record. I know I’ll forget otherwise. The dark purple is a grey romney dyed with purple. Everything else but the mallard green is BFL. The mallard green is falkland wool.

I’ve got another bump drying in the basement and a bump in the crock pot. I think I’ll just keep at it today, as I don’t think there’s anything major going on, and Mr. Ink and I are anticipating some storms, so we aren’t planning yard work either.

Also in anticipation of the storms, I took a wander through my garden and took a few photos. One in particular I want to show off is my newest dahlia bloom.

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Another stunner!

That’s it for today. I’ve been spinning singles like mad, so if all goes well, I’ll have 2 bobbins, almost 8 ounces, and a start to some plying.

Halt!

Crafting came to a quick halt yesterday when our AC went out. It’s still over 90 here this week, so you can imagine our dismay! Yes, I know, Mr. Ink and I both don’t tend to let the heat stop us much, but that’s mostly due to AC and the ability to get indoors and cool off.

That wasn’t the case yesterday. It was quite irritating. I’d had a meeting downtown at the end of work, and while already downtown, figured I’d hook up with friends who live downtown for happy hour. I’d gotten a message from Mr. Ink that the house was quite warm, but I wasn’t alarmed at that point, since we’ve got some deal with the electric company that they can remotely turn off our AC twice a year during the day, saving them power and us money. We’d caught it happening earlier in the year, and figured it was our second go ’round.

But…that wasn’t the case. The AC wasn’t running at all. Thus, all yarn dyeing, laundry doing, dishwasher running, and food cooking also went on halt. It was a slow evening of sitting, and a long night of sleeping poorly.

Thankfully, it’s a lot easier to get a tech in at the end of the season than it is at the beginning of the season. I got a tech in this afternoon, took a half day from work, and let them do their work. Thankfully it was about an hour and a half of work, and a fairly inexpensive fix. (As inexpensive as these things ever are, we don’t need a new unit, and for that I am extremely grateful!)

So, I don’t have much to show you in the way of crafting, but in interest of getting a blog post up, I do have pictures of Mr. Ink’s latest garden area. Now, originally, I would mow around the front of the house. But now that there are 4 trees to mow around, I refuse to mow the front. It’s too much of a pain in the butt. I do the back and the side, and Mr. Ink has agreed to take over the front now.

Well, he got sick of mowing around stuff too, but his nemesis ended up being the downspout. So, he made a new garden.

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I believe the idea is to chop back the downspout a bit, but he’s quite pleased with this arrangement, and is already talking about what annuals he’ll plant there next year.

Want a closer look at that new rose?

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That’s my peace rose! Mr. Ink got it for me while he was on vacation. A local nursery was having a huge sale, and I’d had my eye on it since the beginning of the season. It seems to be taking it’s new home quite well.

Mr Ink has been digging more sod up recently, so I suspect more garden is to go in shortly. He’s also got a plethora of interesting evergreens in pots on the patio. But, much to our chagrin, it’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow. This will halt our progress quite a bit. Well, there’s always the basement needing a clean out!

Happy Friday friends, Talk tomorrow, when I can add photos of dyed wool.

Correct Color

I went back and photographed yesterday’s fiber again, along with two new bumps. Let’s see if this looks a bit more accurate!

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For the record, the two new bumps are the ones on top. The one that LOOKED like the one on the top left yesterday, is the middle left. I think the colors look far better here. It always takes some time to adjust to the different light when it starts to get dark faster.

I also took a new picture of the handspun I finished. It’s also more accurate, so I can post now.

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8 oz of fiber, which is BFL and silk, 290 yards 4 ply yarn. I may have no idea what to do with it, but I do LOVE it. I love the roundness of a 4 ply, and the way the colors mix up. I don’t love picking a pattern. 🙂

I got two more fiber bumps dyed yesterday evening. I had thought that all I had left of commercial top to dye was a pound of undyed BFL silk, but when I went to open the cupboard where I store that, numerous bumps of undyed commercial top fell out. So, I might be at this a little longer than I had anticipated. That’s ok, despite not enjoying dyeing all that much, I haven’t found the crock pot method I am using to be too terribly irritating. More of a set it and forget it process.

The whole point of getting this dyeing done is to get rid of some of the dyeing supplies and dyes because I am not in love with it. I want to scale back majorly. I have already been able to throw away 2 small dye containers, despite having far more dyes than I had actually realized. I have paired down my equipment as well, though there’s still a little more work to do in that department.

Having moved to a new house has really scaled back my desire to work with dyes as well. In the old rented house, I can’t say I cared much about screwing up my kitchen with dyes. After all, it hadn’t been remodeled since the 50s and desperately needed to be. But now? I have to live with the kitchen I have for awhile, and it’s my own. So dyeing has been relegated to the unfinished basement. It needs a clean out, and a year of living has created a fairly buggy space, as is typical for an unfinished basement. There are cobwebs hanging from everything. It’s…unpleasant. And, my only water access down there is the creepy basement shower, which works but isn’t particularly enjoyable to use for dye purposes.

As I write this, I think to myself that maybe finishing that basement WOULD be a good idea. Finish it into a studio, rather than a rec room that would never get used. But, it’s probably a bigger job than I’d like to take on at the moment.

In any case, now I’ve blathered, and bored my readers. Suffice it to say, there’ll be a lot more pictures of dyed fiber in the near future as I work through the undyed stash. That’s all.

Just Keep Spinning

That should be my motto I think. It’s how I act on a bike, no matter how tough the ride gets, and it’s how I go about my time at home too, if I’ve got free time.

I’ve decided to wait to show you a picture of my finished 4 ply. The picture I took yesterday turned the entire skein blue, and that wasn’t happy for me. Instead, I’ll show you what I got done in the dyeing department.

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The green and the gold are on a light grey romney, the wine color is on a dark grey romney. Another great addition to my collection. I dyed up two more yesterday, but have to wait for them to dry to take photographs. That leaves me with one more 2 oz. bump of dark grey romney, and then I’ll be working through a pound of BFL/silk.

Since I finished my 4 ply, I needed another wheel project. I kind of try to alternate between wool top and batts, since I like batts better, and the danger is failing to work through the tops in my collection that I DO love, even though I tend to spin batts more readily. Well, the 4 ply was 8 oz. of top, so now I get to spin some batts, and I chose the over 7 oz. of batts of my own creation. The story of their transformation from some pretty lackluster top to great batts is here. I read that I had originally intended to spin those batts as a 3 ply, but I’ve changed my mind. These are becoming a 2 ply. I am quite pleased with the singles thus far!

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This one? The photo looks just as rich and beautiful as it looks in real life. I think I’ll just keep spinning.