Ghosts of Handspun Past

My Marled mystery has been done for a couple days now, though the weather has been less than cooperative for picture taking.

But, remember that day off I was going to give my kid if her braces were bothering her? Well, that sort of happened. Not a full day, but a half day. The nurse called yesterday to tell me she was struggling, and I went to pick her up. At that point, she’d had a wire that popped out that was tearing up the inside of her cheek, pain from getting them in the first place, and as did happen the last time she had braces, a mouth full of surprise canker sores. Not to mention the stretched chapped lips from getting them put on in the first place. Her pain killers had worn off, and so by the time I brought her home she was feeling pretty low.

She took meds, and rested for about 45 minutes. And then? She spent the rest of the afternoon doing the schoolwork she would have done at school. She made me teach her in the manner which her own teacher would have done that day. Then, when school was about to let out she decided she wanted to walk back to school to get a binder which had her language arts in it. We walked up there, got her binder, got home, and she proceeded to work on an essay that the class wasn’t even due to start until today.

We were back to the orthodontist this morning to fix the popped wire, so hopefully she’ll be far more comfortable in the near future.

In any case, that meant that I had a lovely free afternoon. Miss Butterfly modeled my marled mystery shawl for me.

She also wanted to show off her new braces. The shawl has quite a large wingspan, and it does seem to be getting used regularly by me or by Miss Butterfly, as I’ve just put it on the couch so anytime one of us feels cold we throw it over our shoulders. I really enjoyed the process of knitting this shawl. I am a pretty bold person when it comes to wearing color, but I am struggling to find the courage to actually wear it out of the house. It does look nice draped in the more kerchief manner. But it’s still a lot of weird.

That being said, what I love the most is seeing all the bits of handspun I’ve spun or knit with over the years. There’s lots of leftovers from projects, including some of Miss Marja’s handspun from leftovers. There are also a lot of handspuns I’ve done that just do not fit in any particular project or color scheme preference. Or, the samples were really too small once spun to actually become something. And so much of those handspuns are also things I created, whether that be something I dyed or created in the drum carder. There’s even some undyed handspun from a fleece I processed ages ago. So, the mystery shawl turned into a repository for memories. And that makes it worthwhile even if it never makes it out of the house.

Of course I did find more handspun in my stash that I could have used once the project was done and I was reorganizing my stash. That paired with quite a lot of scraps still left, I may end up doing another. Not in the near future, but again after I’ve finished up some more projects with appropriate handspun that I can add to the pile.

The other thought I had, and I may try this soonish, was that the bit that I liked the most was the brioche. So, I might also try a marled brioche scarf that is similar in nature to a baktus scarf at some point.

In any case, that was good fun, would do again.

Due to all the rain, not much has been happening in the yard. But, I did grab a photo of the rain barrel.


It looks ok there in my veggie garden! In the top is a place for soil and flowers, so it’ll get some annuals once it’s time to plant.

Last year, Mr. Ink and I made four long lists. One for the house, one for the yard, one for the motorbikes, and one for bikes. It was a list for short and long term goals. Mr. Ink requested we pull those out and look them over, so that’s what I did. Naturally, quite a bit that was to be done in the yard was already crossed off, or could be crossed off, or we had a good start on. We added some things. Then? The other three lists there was nothing on there that we could cross off at all. Not that we haven’t accomplished anything, just that nothing at all on the lists was accomplished. So, I think since Mr. Ink is so yard inspired, I am going to start on the house list and see where it gets me this year. Last year there were large yard projects I could assist with, but at this point there’s little left beyond just normal gardening for me to do. Yet I feel quite guilty spinning or knitting when he’s devoting so much time to the yard, even though it’s his hobby.

In any case, we are looking forward to the weekend again. Despite the fact that it’ll be another rainy one. To be honest, we could use that time to get some work done IN the house, so that’s my goal for the weekend!

In the Yard

No knitting posts yet again. I did finish my marled mystery shawl and I got it blocked but it was drying on the floor last evening. It has an insanely large wingspan! I had Miss Butterfly help me with the braid and the tassel, but I stopped at the one tassel. I don’t think I am that into them.

I can show you the progress Mr. Ink is making in the yard. If you are a regular reader, you may remember that Mr. Ink plans to remove a burning bush and a falling retaining wall. Here’s the photo for that:


He’s been digging out dirt around the burning bush for awhile now, as he’s needed it for other projects and we plan to replace the dirt in this garden bed with something more beneficial to vegetables. The other day I went out there, and it looked like this:


The wall is almost gone! And apparently the grass on that bank has also been killed, as this entire area is getting a Mr. Ink makeover. Later, he said “Come look at what I did!” So I wandered out doors and here’s what I was shown:


That is where a very large rain barrel will be installed, with repurposed stone from the leaning retaining wall. He did get that barrel installed last evening, quite late. A good thing too, as it began raining as he wrapped the project up, and it has been raining ever since.

Not too much new in the garden this week. Hyacinths are blooming nicely, crocuses are still blooming, and my funny little flowering quince is about to burst into bloom.

I’ve noticed that there are magnolias blooming all over our little town, so I am thinking a trip to our local botanical gardens is in order this weekend. Next year? I’ll have one in my own yard.

In other news, Miss Butterfly just got braces for the second time in her life. I always expect her to feel awful really, and with the cold and unending rain was ready to tell her we could stay home if she was feeling poorly. But, she got out of there quite pleased and just fine. So, no special care needed. Maybe it was me who needed a day off! Ah well, Friday is JUST around the corner.

The Week, March 27-April 2

Well, it’s been one week and I’ve done pretty well with my  list. I’ll have to be a bit harder on myself this week.

  • Knit through to the 5th color on Find your Fade shawl
    • Done but just barely. Not even worth a picture yet.
  • Finish spinning the first bobbin of brown luxury batts
    • Done, see below.
  • Begin plying the dyeabolical singles
    • The singles were plied and became yarn
  • Friday/weekend work on Clue 4 of Marled Mystery
    • I knit section 7, but there was a mistake in the first 3 rows. I was also distracted and not counting correctly. Basically fudged the end of the clue and decided to call it good. I knit section 8. No mistakes, counts were perfect. Then I could see where I’d gone wrong in section 7. Yanked all of Section 7 and reknit.
  • Hit step goal at least 3 times during week and once on weekend.
    • Done. By the time I made this list I had to really hustle, since it was to rain all day Friday, and it did.
  • Attempt to get in a bike ride around the scheduled rain over the weekend
    • This most decidedly DID NOT HAPPEN. It was cold, it rained all day Saturday, and on Sunday I decided to spend that time taking a long walk with Miss Butterfly, which counted for Sunday’s step goal as well as more than enough to make up for what I lacked in goal on Saturday.
  • Plant strawberries
    • Now I have 7 strawberry plants. I probably will need to fashion some sort of cage so that we actually get to eat strawberries before wildlife gets to them.

I finished the first bobbin of brown singles.


I was less than inspired to work on these to be honest, but I got it done. I really do not like removing bobbins that are almost done to start a different project, so I pushed through. Then, I worked on the dyeabolical singles in Jo Rides a Motorbike.


Those turned out just fine! 275 yards of sport weight yarn. I really like the richness of these colors together. That was it for the wheel, it’s standing empty at the moment. I am soured enough from pushing through the singles that I am thinking I might do a corespun project to cleanse the palate.

Mr. Ink had a ton of small errands to run this weekend, and I tagged along for all of them. Usually this makes me feel like my weekend is running out too quickly, but I’d also tried something else new. A completely internet free weekend. And that I think I’ll try again. The weekend really did feel longer. One of the errands was finally getting my birthday gift (early December) and his Christmas gift. We found a stovetop that’s easier to clean for me, and an office chair for him. The new office chair has the added bonus of being quite lovely. The stovetop matches not at all, but I am sick to death of cleaning an all white gas stove top with multiple different parts that get gunked up with no easy to clean solution in sight. So that’s a win for me. The stovetop is already installed, while the office chair is still in a box in the basement.

I did a major clean out of my yarn stash, pulling quite a bit of yarn to go to coworker’s bird house project. I gave some stuff I’d dyed myself, and she took one look at it this morning and said “Do you mind if I make something for me?” My response was “Of course not, once it’s in your hands, it’s yours to do with what you please!” The particularly nice part of this destash to her is that now I can fit all my yarn in one 9 cube storage shelving unit. All of it, even my handspun stash. This leaves me two empty book shelves on my bookcase. It also means that my more becoming finished objects than yarn going in stash is working pretty well.

On to the next list:

  • Let’s try for 4 step goals during the week.
  • Resume daily push ups.(I had to quit due to a shoulder injury, but I’ve been injury free for more than a week now.)
  • 30 days of biking begins on Saturday. That means I’ll need two bike rides this weekend.
  • Rearrange furniture in craft room and den of slack.
  • Finish Marled Mystery shawl and DO NOT CAST ON ANOTHER.
  • Work on Find Your Fade. Not making a goal, not sure how long that icord on marled mystery is going to take.
  • Photograph and list on Rav the pile of fiber in living room, then put it away.
  • Establish leftover yardage amounts from yarn used for find your fade, and put that away as well.
  • Spin a little bit.


The Yard

We are in full swing over at Chez Shells gardens, Mr. Ink got numerous trees and plants in the mail yesterday. I can’t tell you what each of them are as I am not entirely sure. He said something about a weeping redbud, that was the surprise tree. And another he said something about a dwarf of a dwarf japanese maple maybe? But it’s leaves were lime green. And then he got his almost holy grail. Again, not entirely sure what it is but I think it’s some kind of juniper. His holy grail of trees cannot be planted in zone 5. But, he says he’s still got that tree in his sights since he feels that global warming is so fast, we’ll be in zone 6 soon enough.


A Mr. Ink who is planting trees is an exceedingly happy Mr. Ink. And isn’t that a fantastic tree? Let’s take a closer look.


Here she is, in the ground. I offered to hold her skirt while he filled in the hole with dirt, as her long skirt kept ending up under ground. She’s really quite weird and fascinating, and we really love her!  No sense posting the other trees, they just look like sticks in the ground right now without their leaves. Hopefully we’ll get to see them looking a bit more pretty soon.

I’ve got hyacinths almost blooming!


I think I’ve realized why these two are so far ahead of the rest. They are right in front of the dryer vent! So, each weekend all winter long they were getting a number of hours of steady blast hot air. Seems to have made a difference. This section of garden is scheduled to get its edging makeover this spring, to match the rest of the gardens. Mr. Ink has removed the sod from the far end, and it should be edged in as soon as we are done with the burning bush stump and root system removal in April. As an update on that project, we’ve dug down deep enough to realize that the problem with the leaning retaining wall is entirely the burning bush root system pushing on that wall. Which would indicate to me it was very important for us to remove that bush. If it can do that to a retaining wall, what’s it doing to my foundation?!


Anyhow, that’s a wrap up of our evening. It was a pretty nice night. I’ve been feeling slightly under the weather, can’t be sure if it’s allergies or a cold coming on, so I went to bed nice and early and slept SO WELL. That’s just an all around nice set up for the weekend!

A Better Picture

Between work lunches, and a trip to the car dealership, and a trip to the orthodontist, Miss Marja’s Lintilla has gotten a little more work, and since it came home with me, it also got a decent photo.


One where you can actually see the colors as they are. If this shawl were at home, I’d probably never stop working on it. I love it. The color blending is fantastic, and it never ceases to interest me.

Plus, I just REALLY LOVE knitting the Lintilla pattern.

As mentioned previously, the small skein of chain plied yarn that matches this shawl is going into my crazy marled mystery shawl. New clue out tomorrow! All I have to do is choose which yarn to pair with it, which I don’t think I’ll bother to do until I actually get the clue and see what I am up against. For the clue that particular yarn goes into, for consistency, I won’t be counting yardage, because it’s “New Yarn.” I only get to count the yards from the yarn paired with it. Can you tell I am really enjoying making up pointless rules for my pointless game? Hah.

In the meantime, I worked my way into the 5th color on the Find Your Fade shawl. It’s not completely worked in yet, I am still alternating with the 4th color. But, I am close, as was my hope!

There’s a pokemon go event going on right now as well, plus a nests change, which should seriously inspire Miss Butterfly and I to get outdoors and walking around. We’ll have to do so tonight, as it’s going to rain all day Friday, according to forecasts.

Are you looking forward to the weekend as much as I am?

Fade Finding

I almost wrote the title as “fad finding” which would be entirely appropriate when speaking of the Find Your Fade shawl. I am well into the second skein of the fourth color now, and just completed the lace section last evening. The rows are very long. Thankfully, they are as long as they are going to get, I am no longer increasing stitches. But, I’ve 3 more colors to go after this one, so I’d better well get accustomed to these long rows!


My coworker, who is originally Finnish, and knows how to knit and crochet, but hasn’t made a habit of it over the years, has recently had a resurgence in her crafting desire. Last year I gave her some handspun yarn she had her eye on, and she was thrilled to bits. She crocheted it into a hat that I see her wearing almost daily.

IMG_3607After she made the hat, she decided she needed to crochet more things. Now, this is a woman who is a huge advocate for wildlife. And, she found some bird rehab/rescue places that were requesting various bird houses made out of yarn. She ordered some yarn from knitpicks, and set out to create birdhouses. She brought them in to me before sending them out, they were great! She soon ran out of yarn, but she says the itch to craft hasn’t disappeared and she was going to need to make another order. Well, knowing that I’ve got a bunch of one off balls of knitpicks hanging around from projects completed or gone by the wayside, I told her I’d donate to her cause. This means that 7 odd skeins of knitpicks yarn went to her this morning. She was thrilled, and I think that means I get to add 770 yards of “knit” yarn to my yearly total. Meaning  I haven’t been counting the knitting I am doing for Miss Marja, or the knitting I am doing with yarn that has arrived in my stash this year due to that not being “destash” yarn. I’ve knit far more than 770 yards that would fall under that category. But, in this case I destashed the yarn, so I get to add it as “knit.” Current totals, 3.88 miles knit, 1.75 miles spun. At the moment, what is leaving my stash is double what is going back in. That’s sort of where I’d like to be, overall. Can’t say I’ll be able to maintain that throughout spinning “season” but it’s a great start!

Miss Butterfly is getting braces again next week. We were in this morning for small spacers for her to wear this week, in order that she has the appropriate room for the mouth gear being installed next week. Also of note, she gets to throw out her retainer. Which is great, because it’s been used and abused so hard at this point that there’ve been bits falling off it for the last 6 months. The orthodontist didn’t want to replace it, as we were too close to phase 2 braces, so he’s been piecing the thing back together just to get us through those 6 months. If he could have used duct tape, I swear he would have. This is the second retainer she’s had, and amazingly enough we managed to get through both of them without losing one completely, or throwing one out completely, or breaking one beyond usability. I feel very fortunate. Then again, I told her from the start she has to buy the next one of she loses one. So, it might have been the correct incentive for her. In any case, I am as glad to be rid of the thing as she is at this point I think!

Tonight if it hasn’t rained too much (and it’s currently raining) we may try to get a dirt bike ride in. I have to admit, I’ve been less than inspired to ride dirt lately, so I am waffling back and forth between wanting it to rain hard, and wanting it to dry up so a dirt ride is possible. That being said, if I am not feeling it, I figure I’ll just take a nice dirt walk, and grab my step goal. That could easily make for a win win situation. It’s cold today, in fact the rain that happened this morning was really ice pellets at first. But tomorrow we are looking at 73? It’s so nutty out here in March!


The Week

You know, I’ve been admiring what Madgeface of Little Golden Notebook does most weeks. She lists some goals for the week, and then the next week she follows up with what she did on the list, and creates a new list for the upcoming week. While her lists don’t involve me in any way, I really like to read them. I guess there’s something universal about seeing something on a list crossed off! And, there’s a pleasant accountability as well, as she adds notes to the crossed off list items, indicating how that worked out.

The long and short of it is, I want to start doing little lists too! So I am, here’s my first list for the upcoming week.

  • Knit through to the 5th color on Find your Fade shawl
  • Finish spinning the first bobbin of brown luxury batts
  • Begin plying the dyeabolical singles
  • Friday/weekend work on Clue 4 of Marled Mystery
  • Hit step goal at least 3 times during week and once on weekend.
  • Attempt to get in a bike ride around the scheduled rain over the weekend
  • Plant strawberries

Naturally, I cannot at this point post about last week’s goals, but Monday will be fun!

No pictures today. Miss Butterfly was off school yesterday, and I decided to allow her to do laundry. I like doing laundry, mostly. But, I figured if I didn’t have other chores for her, she could do it instead. She did 4 loads, which is about the weekly average for our household of extremely active people. Between work out clothing and gardening clothing, it adds up quickly. When I arrived home, there was still a load in the dryer, done but not brought upstairs. So, I got started on folding my stuff, while asking her to please go get that final load. And she was like “UGH. MOM. I’ve been at the laundry ALL DAY!” Which made me giggle, because does it not occur to her that I do this weekly? Of course not. I think I’ll save laundry for days off again in the future, just to drive home the point! That being said, she did a GREAT job with it all. That was the ONLY complaint about it, and everything was done, and done well, and she made good decisions. “Mom, all that’s left are two towels, and it seems pointless to do them. What would you do?” “Leave them for next week.” I quickly responded and she said “Yeah, that’s what I figured should be done.” Laundry skills, certainly part of life’s lessons. In any case, between all the laundry folding, and kitchen clean up, I didn’t get a find your fade photo. I’ll try for one tonight.

This morning I had to drive the honda to work, as it is involved in the big airbag recall going on right now. I figured I’d leave work early and take it into the dealership. It’s so entirely Mr. Ink’s car now! The seat is so far back, and I won’t even change it because I know how annoying it is to have to get your perfect seat position back. He drove the honda with it in my seat position for years, never changing it. There was a used kleenex on the passenger’s seat, the window was down, heavy metal on the radio. I mean, it’s only been 2.5 months! But, most irritatingly, when I pulled the honda out of the garage, there wasn’t enough fuel in it to get me to work, then to the dealership after work! I am sure it wasn’t even remotely intentional, he hadn’t remembered that I was to take the honda this morning. But, it’s certainly not the thing I want to see when I am rushing off to work at 7 am! On the upside, driving the honda is the ONLY way I get to listen to the new Volbeat album, since it’s been firmly ensconced in the honda cd player since it arrived at our house. And, he did also mention that the dealership would probably try to get me to purchase brake work, and he just checked them, he’s got his eye on them, and they’ve got life left in them. I so appreciate those tips when I head to the dealership. (He also likes to see what else they tell me about my car, since he keeps it in perfect condition. He likes to see if a dealership is honest or not. Thus far though, this dealership hasn’t ever asked me to fix something that doesn’t need fixing. It’s got enough approval that it was one we used when we were car hunting in December.)

Meanwhile, I told Mr. Ink that while he had the murano at his dealership, he could go ahead and give it a car wash. He told me “You don’t get to have a washed car WEEKLY you know!” And it’s almost true, I do make him take it in every time he works on a Saturday for a wash. But, I reminded him that’s every 3 weeks rather than weekly, and I thought for sure I can have a car wash after it snowed, and that’s the mess that’s currently ON the car. Furthermore, if he won’t wash it for free at the dealership, I am just going to pay to have it washed. So, really, his choice! (His choice will ALWAYS be free.)

I guess that’s all the talking I can come up with when I don’t have additional photos to add!