Spinning and Prep

I’ve been spinning up a storm around here. Despite also having gone out for many walks with Miss Butterfly, and still doing a ton of christmas shopping. As of yesterday afternoon, christmas shopping was finally complete. As of last night, thanks to Mr. Ink, gifts were wrapped. Our next christmas with his extended family is tomorrow.

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I’ve pulled out some The Dyeing Arts fiber to work on, I’ve got 8 ounces of this colorway. I am 2/3 of the way through. It’s mainly superwash merino with some cashmere and some nylon in it. I am working my way to a 3 ply, hopefully around dk weight, as I’ve got it in my head that this would make a great baby sweater, perhaps even baby surprise jacket, for my new upcoming nephew.

We had a quick visit from Miss Marja last night. Too quick really! We have been too busy to have a proper visit lately. Miss Butterfly got her fabulous gifts, and Miss Marja dropped off some of her rolags for me! Here’s a sneak peek.

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These are just going to stay right next to my spinning chair since I have it in mind to spin them up next. Can’t wait really!

We also had a quick visit from Mr. Ink’s daughter KK and her wife last night. They dropped by to leave their car and pick up the truck, as the girls are moving into a new place. It was good to see them, even if brief. Mr. Ink made sure to put the stuff we’ve been storing for her in the shop into the truck before they even arrived. He’s been anxious to have it out of his shop, and so he took the opportunity when he had it. I admit that it’s nice to still have the old truck around, rather than having gone with a new truck this time around. I mean, it’s just fine to send a 22 year old truck off with a 21 year old kid to use in a move. We might not be so generous with a brand new truck.

Today we are packing for our trip, so there’s laundry being done and suitcases coming out, and I need to get my craft bag ready to go. I am pretty certain I never touched my knitting yesterday at all. I also need to bake some pies, though I did get the bread done yesterday. And there’s a little bit of very pleasant visiting to do with a friend too, which I am quite looking forward to. And on that note, I’d better get to it! Might be light on posting for a few days, but I’ll get plenty of photos for blog fodder upon our return. If I don’t get an opportunity to tell you later, have a fabulous and celebratory new year’s eve. I, for one, am eager to have this year and me go our separate ways.

One Done

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Last night was our own little family christmas. It was quiet and lovely. Miss Butterfly and I had been out shopping most of the day for gifts for Mr. Ink’s family later this week. It was exhausting! But, we still managed to make a chocolate cream pie. Mr. Ink made pork steaks, green beans with sweet peppers, pasta with alfredo sauce, and even brought home a bottle of champagne. Miss Butterfly was thrilled with all her gifts. She got an activity tracker from my parents that she’s obsessed with at the moment, and Mr. Ink got her tickets to see Panic! at the Disco in March and there was much rejoicing. It’s tough really, she comes home after like 4 christmases with her dad and his girlfriend and their families, and she comes home with so much STUFF. And I look at all that stuff and think “Well, our little gifts aren’t going to be very interesting.” And yet…they are. They still are. We wrapped up the evening with watching Mama Mia, as Butterfly’s dad’s girlfriend sent it home with her wanting her to watch it. Her dad always vetoes the idea when she’s there. I think had Mr. Ink known what he was getting into he’d have vetoed it too! So, my amusement was watching the expressions on his face during the movie.

I began a new knitting project, but I’ll save that for later. I’ll focus on spinning instead. Have you ever had something in your stash you just really needed to get OUT of your stash? I bought a black batt with hints of dark green and a ton of sparkle many years ago. I had BIG plans for the batt, namely, adding beads to the spin. But, somehow I could never get myself inspired to actually spin it with beads. So, it’s been mocking me from my stash for many years. Shaming me. Shoulding me. I am so ridiculously sick of moving that batt around every time I wander through my stash. So I decided to spin it. Without beads.

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I’ve got 327 yards of sparkly black singles. It’s pretty cool really, this batt. It spun up quickly, it looks nice, and now it can sit in a different stash until it tells me what it wants to become.

This will likely be my last spin of this year. And that gives me a total of 31 miles spun this year. This is the first year I’ve counted yardage as plies, rather than overall finished yarn yardage, so I really don’t know if that’s high or not. It’s pretty likely to be on the higher end though. I knit 11 miles of yarn this year. I strive for 12 miles a year these days, between the alternating hobbies of spinning and biking. I didn’t quite make it, even with 2 months of knitting exclusively, no spinning. Since I won’t finish a knitting project either before the new year, I can say it’ll stay at 11 miles.

It seems like my knit meter needs and wants change every year. This year I will go back to recording only finished yarn spun. Forget the number of plies. The other change I will make? I plan to knit as much as I spin. Meaning, if I spin a mile of yarn, I have to knit a mile of yarn before I continue spinning. Incoming handspun stash will have to equal outgoing yarn stash. What will not be included in that knitting total is anything I make out of Marja’s yarn for Marja. It’s other handspun, that yarn. Not in my stash, not using stash, it’s just separate.

I do think that it’s interesting to evaluate the overall crafting from the year at the end of the year and put some thought into the upcoming year. My handspun yarn stash is so vast. But so is my commercial yarn stash. And, the reality is that the commercial yarn stash has been there so much longer than most of the handspun stash, yet, the handspun stash is what I actually enjoy knitting with. I knit with commercial yarn in 10 projects last year, some of them paired with handspun. Overall project count? 35. I really want to keep chipping away at that commercial yarn stash. It’s nice to have, as it means I regularly can go to it rather than purchasing yarn. But, I’d rather have the opportunity to move my handspun stash over to the cubes that hold the commercial stash. We’ll see how far we can go in that direction this year.

Ok guys, if this is sounding a little scattered, please forgive. It’s a day with Miss Butterfly, and she basically just talks at me all day long. I’ve gotten really good at tuning things out, but little bits get in and then I struggle to keep my own thoughts together. I love days with her, but they certainly aren’t quiet! I hope she grows out of the need to narrate her entire life as it is happening, but she’s 12 and she hasn’t grown out of it yet….

Funnel Cake and Memories.

When I was young, often at Christmas, the entire family would gather at the farmhouse. There were so many cousins, and such a large range of ages. And this meant that outdoor activities dominated our fun. Sledding, snowball fights, ice skating, and any other mischief we could think up while we were at it. And then there’d be hot chocolate inside, which I never really liked but I would often pretend to fit in. Soaking wet woolen outerwear hung above and beside the wood stove, I can still hear the hiss of snow and wet dripping from them onto the stove. There’d be a point where we’d have gone through the box of gloves and mittens, scarves and hats and we would have to wait for everything to dry out again before we ventured back outdoors. There’d be my Nana, sitting on the couch near that wood stove, knowing full well that I had an inability to know my limits when it came to the cold.She would take my painfully freezing feet and hands in her warm hands and patiently wait for them to warm up. Christmas also brought indoor activities that felt fascinating and new. Sometimes we’d “convince” the adults to allow us to make homemade donut holes. The Mennonite Community Cookbook, the family “bible” of cooking would be brought out, dough mixed, and oil heated to just the right temperature. The house would smell of fried food, the adults would hand us paper bags of powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar and fresh donut holes and had us shake the bags to coat the donuts, the dark stains of the grease showing through the bags so quickly. I don’t think I loved donut holes that much either, but the process was new and fascinating and wonderful.

As an adult, I know what massive amounts of work goes into making a christmas all shiny and beautiful for a child, and I know that adults have their own cares and concerns, thoughts and feelings brought on by being around so many other people. I don’t know what it was like for the adults in my life when I was a child. But boy did they make Christmas beautiful for us!

I like fried food just fine now, and so these are the memories that pop in my head when Don and I make our own traditional funnel cake on Christmas morning.

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For the first time in a very long time I felt a bit melancholy on Christmas morning. Thing is, I am usually so busy go go going that the brief and quiet respite of a christmas without people is bliss. So, this time, I think it’s that I’ve got this stretch of not working laying out ahead of me (despite the fact that a huge portion of that is full of Mr. Ink’s family) and I didn’t feel like I “needed” christmas day to be quiet like I generally do. Or, maybe, when Mr. Ink’s mother was still in town and his kids would pop by unexpectedly, that was enough to make things feel appropriately festive. I really couldn’t say. I certainly wasn’t melancholy at thanksgiving! In any case, that was a bit of a new feeling this year. And it passed pretty quickly, as we occupied ourselves with yardwork (Ok, that was Mr. Ink, not me) and a nice long walk during breaks in the rain.

We had a line of storms go through as well, later on in the day. High winds, sideways buckets of rain. The sideways rain managed to get into the doorbell, making it seem like someone was playing “ding dong ditch” for the majority of the evening. Maybe PART of my melancholy was it just not feeling like christmas with the warm, rainy, spring like weather!

There’s been spinning!

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All my into the whirled bobbins got finished, and then I plied on Saturday.

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I ended up with 280 yards of what I’d guess to be a sport weight yarn. It didn’t turn out anything like what I expected but it is certainly pretty!

I began another spinning project soon after, but most of yesterday’s crafting time was spent on Mr. Ink’s socks. I don’t know why, but they really just were the perfect knitting for the day.

Miss Butterfly comes home today. She and I have some Christmas shopping to do for Mr. Ink’s family. And then tonight we will do our own Christmas. I am really looking forward to that!

I do hope everyone had a lovely day!

Merry Rainy Christmas

We’ve got….thunderstorms! All day. I woke up to the sound of rain on the roof, made coffee to the sound of thunder, and am now enjoying the light show just before it gets light enough to see the rest of the world around us.

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I finished this loop cloud skein a few days ago, but it looked so festive I decided to post it today. I’d say it’s a 2 ply DK weight yarn. It’s very fluffy. And I have 240 yards.

Yesterday was a pretty quiet day for us. Miss Butterfly is with her dad, where we are hearing that her fever is down to 99 and not going higher than that, which is quite encouraging. She’s irritable because she doesn’t think they take her seriously when she tells them she’s out of energy. And I think that could be the case as they didn’t see her in the worst of it, AND, they allow her a lot of screen time. For me, I just don’t allow screen time, so if she felt good, she’d be up and about. They assume her laying around is just lazy. But, if they remove the screens, they’d find out if it’s lazy or just recovery. In any case, I asked her if she wanted me to pick her up so she could recover at home, but she didn’t want that either. Her complaints might have validity, but they aren’t too bad if she’s offered an out and doesn’t take it.

We rearranged the garages in anticipation of the new vehicle. Moved a piece of furniture sitting in the shop into Mr. Ink’s “den of slack.” Moved the motorbikes up to the shop, and cleaned out the second attached garage bay in anticipation of the new vehicle. I’ll keep the bay I’ve been using the entire time we’ve lived here for the new vehicle, and Mr. Ink will use the other bay with my little civic. But, early on we lost the one and only garage door key while out on a bike ride. And, that bay doesn’t have an automatic door opener. We finally figured out why. We took a look in anticipation of putting a garage door opener in, and realized the reason that there isn’t one is that there’s ductwork for the house blocking the way. More research was done, and we learned that there are new styles of garage door openers that don’t use up your entire garage ceiling now. But, they require a bar across the top of the garage door area and we don’t have that on our garage doors. So, it’s either get new garage doors (Which I am not actually completely opposed to) and new garage door openers, or see how long it takes Mr. Ink to get sick of parking in the driveway, going upstairs, opening a main door, walking down to the basement, opening his bay, putting the car in, and closing the bay.

We ended up settling for a different solution for now. Mr. Ink found a kit to rekey his garage door. It’s a lot less expensive than the new garage doors and new openers option. I am still not opposed to the idea of new garage doors and openers, but maybe not right after christmas when we also just bought a new car? (Not that we’ve bought the car yet, but we cannot imagine why we wouldn’t as soon as it shows up.)

In any case, it’ll be another quiet day around here I suspect. We’ll do our little family christmas tomorrow night, as Miss Butterfly thinks she might want to stay at her dads overnight and return to us in the morning. We don’t really mind changing our celebration date, and if Mr. Ink’s kids want to come, it makes it easier for them as well. They don’t have to try to maneuver visiting with a number of different families all in one day.

Whether you celebrate or not, I do hope your day is filled with love and beautiful things! Happy Holidays!

You have GOT to be KIDDING ME!!!

That’s a direct quote, from Mr. Ink this morning.

On our very first date, Mr. Ink said to me “I…am not that into yarn you know.” He’s a man of few words, and he wanted to make it clear that he’d prefer if I didn’t knit for him. Now, he very much appreciates the artistry of my knitting and spinning, and when meeting new people he tends to brag on me about it quite a bit. However, he didn’t want me to knit for him.

Except then, at some point, he said “I’ve been thinking, I might actually like a pair of handknit socks.” And, so for his birthday, in February 2015, I knit him a pair of socks.

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And he fell in love. The rest of the cold that year he wore them. And then for the 2015-2016 winter season he wore them so often. If it was cold in the house, that was his go to pair of socks. And then….one went missing in the wash late last winter.

I have torn the house up looking for that stray sock. I mean, you don’t just knit a pair of socks for a man with size 13.5 wide feet and let one of them disappear! I unfolded every sheet in the house hoping it had got caught in a corner. I tipped over the washer and dryer looking under them. I removed everything from the bedroom closet looking for them. I moved the mattress off the bed and searched under every piece of furniture. And I didn’t find that stray sock.

Mr. Ink threatened this summer to throw out the remaining sock and I told him he absolutely COULD NOT. That the sock was bound to turn up somewhere, someday. And, now every time I thought about that sock I imagined it was somewhere in the basement, holes being eaten into it by crickets or something.

I didn’t knit another pair of socks for him. He didn’t ask me to. Until my birthday when he mentioned in front of everyone going through my give away handknit scarf and shawl stash that he’d lost a hand knit sock and he’d sure love to have another.

So, I broke out the wollmeise pure.

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And I knit another sock. I want you to understand just how large this sock is. The leg itself is 10.5 inches of sock leg. I spent the entire time being sure that the sock was too large. It was, naturally, just right. It’s SO MUCH knitting for this guy! But he loves them, and so I am knitting them. I cast on the second one this morning.

And then, this morning, I am in another room where I hear “You have GOT to be  KIDDING ME!!!” in this tone that was so frustrated and filled with wonder. I honestly thought that maybe someone had crashed into the front bank and massively screwed up his landscaping, or maybe there was critter in the house, or maybe a large critter had dug holes into the yard.

I go to him, he’s still trying to pull a long sleeve fleece shirt over his head, while yanking the missing sock out of the inside of it.

Missing sock located. All I needed to do was knit a new one.

Actually, I am thrilled to pieces about it. It is so hard to see such a huge time and knitting investment go to waste. And now he’s wandering around the house nice and warm in his wool handknit socks and a fleece shirt, looking pretty smug. And I am looking smug as well!

First Day

Today is day 1 of an 11 day much needed vacation. There’s a “wintery mix” outdoors. Mr. Ink is also off work. We are still doing a lot of this:

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Basically, just relaxing, as Miss Butterfly is still in recovery mode. She’ll feel better briefly, act like a normal kid, and then she’s down for the count again. This photo was after she’d exhausted herself taking a bath and washing her hair. She was fever free for most of yesterday, but had one again in the evening. So, we are being pretty quiet around here, allowing her to rest at any point she needs.

A bit of knitting has been done, though I was terribly uninspired about it last evening. I need to start the heel flap on the stocking now. This is always where I stall out on these, once the fun of the colorwork pattern is over I no longer want to work on them. Thankfully, this isn’t a rush situation.

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See our “wintery mix?” It’s really weaksauce.

I am currently plying my loop cloud but I couldn’t resist starting a new project before I got around to plying. It’s Into the Whirled bfl silk, and really pretty!

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I am going to do a 3 ply because 3 plies are cool. This is 1/3 of the 4 oz. project. The remainder is prepped and ready to go as soon as my loop cloud plying is off the wheel.

Mr. Ink woke up with a massive headache this morning. Miss Butterfly quickly reminded him that’s what her illness started with. He doesn’t think that’s the case, but Miss Butterfly and I are kind of watching and waiting. But if he were to get it, that would be pretty disastrous considering all there is to be done. I guess this is why things need to be done early! Even though it’s entirely my own failure that things aren’t done early.

Happy Holiday Weekend everyone!

Leading Up

Leading up to vacation. Miss Butterfly had a fever of 103 last night! Somehow that feels disturbing on a 12 year old. But, it was down a bit this morning, and she’s keeping soups down. She has requested egg drop soup and a fruit cup today, that I am to find on my way home from work. Yep, I am at work and I’ll be here the full day or until I hear she wants me home.

However, being at work today has been lovely quite frankly. It’s quiet. There was a gift card under my keyboard from the person who headed up the disastrous grant on Tuesday, as well as an email to the chair of our department acknowledging the super hard work of my team and myself, and an email from the chair of the department also acknowledging that work. I actually heard that the chair came to my office yesterday while I was gone, and was apparently going to tease me a bit about the grant, telling me we were ready to move forward with trying to submit it late. The one person on my team he told this to was like “It’s probably best she’s not here….”

I guess there’s nothing like major work disaster to make you appreciate a long christmas vacation. Which I am on, as of 4 p.m. today.

Here’s some knitting and spinning photos I took yesterday once I was able to be home with Miss Butterfly:

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That’s half a loop cloud on a bobbin. I finished the other half last evening. And then I started a new project, so I have to wait to finish that bobbin before plying the loop cloud. After taking a long spinning break, I don’t feel particularly tied to any one spinning project or producing a certain yarn. My whims are where I am headed with it at the moment. Not a lot of thought, just pretty fiber and muscle memory.

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And there’s the Lintilla I started out of Miss Marja’s handspun. Honestly? I might rip this. There were two skeins. But, the tiny skein was chain plied while the rest 3 plied. And I started with the chain ply. However, I feel a bit like this isn’t making the product I want, and may rip back this section, remove the chain ply from the bulk of the project, saving it for the end in the off chance I run into a situation of running out of yarn. I think that would make me happier. But, I could just be sick of knitting this right now, and need to put it down. And that would be ok, I’ve still got a stocking on the needles, and I’ve got Mr. Ink’s socks, and two more skeins of Miss Marja’s handspun that want to be made into fun knitted objects.

Tomorrow all 3 of us have off together, and I admit that I selfishly am hoping that Miss Butterfly is feeling well enough to at least go to the movies or something! We shall see.