Inspired?

I was rifling through my stash again recently, and pulled out a few skeins of handspun. You see, I have this serious problem with figuring out what to do with low yardage skeins. I think this is because I really don’t love knitting hats. Hats are the perfect thing to knit with a low yardage skein of handspun. But, I refuse to do that. Instead, I have done my best to purchase larger amounts of fiber when I want to create thicker yarns, rather than be stuck with a small skein.

But, it’s also really pleasant to knit something quickly. As long as that something isn’t a hat, that is. So, when rifling through the stash I was trying to pull out some low yardage handspun skeins.

I pulled out this one:

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This is falkland top from a spun right round fiber club I joined awhile back. It’s heavier than worsted weight yarn, and I only had 150 yards. So, I chose the Anthro-Inspired scarflet which claims to use 120 yards of aran weight yarn.

It’s moving right along.

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I snapped this photo early last evening, but have worked my way through the neck portion now and will start the end shortly. If I’ve enough yarn leftover at the end, I will probably crochet a flower for it. I think it’s pretty cute. I don’t know that I’d wear it, so it will likely go in the pile of things to gift to people who would choose to do so. However, it’s been fun knitting it for sure.

I have completely given up on the idea of finishing Tibetan Clouds before Tour de Fleece. I mean, I think I did mention that if the weather was going to be pleasant, I was going to be spinning on the patio despite the fact that this is a month of knitting. With a high of 75 today, a high of 80 tomorrow, and a high of 76 on Sunday I plan to be spinning on that patio when I can!

The “under the weather” feeling FINALLY turned into something. I was getting concerned after 3 days of one side of my neck being swollen and VERY painful, with no other symptoms other than feeling a bit “off.” But yesterday evening I could feel it turning into a sinus infection. Finally something to account for that lymph node going strange on me. The painful neck symptom is much improved today. Still irritating, but I don’t have to take ibuprofen to get through the day. While a sinus infection is no treat, it’s far preferable to that sore neck I’ll tell you. That also explains why my brain was feeling foggy and I didn’t want to work on the complicated tibetan clouds! Just give me a bunch of plain knitting and I’ll muddle through!

Happy Friday folks! We are certainly pleased we made it through this week!

One Side Done

Yesterday was very hot, and I’ve just been feeling under the weather lately. I didn’t sleep well the night before, woke up at 4 a.m. yesterday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I basically told Mr. Ink that I’d be spending the evening indoors knitting. He said he wanted to plant one of his trees and to expect a late dinner because of it.

So with that settled, I set out to do that knitting.

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And I finished on side of the tibetan clouds stole! I also did all the set up rows for the other side, and am now one row in to the main chart. So, just, you know, 8.5 repeats of that and a another chart for the end and I am DONE! (Never mind that I can only get in one repeat a day if I’ve nothing else going on, and it’s ridiculously boring, and so if I really DO want to finish this stole this month I am going to have to get used to boredom over the next week.

I decided I didn’t want to be bored last evening, and once done with the set up rows I started something new. It’s…another one of those projects where I pull a skein from stash and try to make it fit. I’ll show you tomorrow.

Mr. Ink came in around 9 and decided we’d have to order some food in. Because he wasn’t even done. So we ordered some pizza, and then Mr. Ink headed back out to work on his planting project. He was at it again until 1:30 a.m.  That guy’s got motivation. Want to see it?

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You’d think that tiny tree in the ground wouldn’t take all evening, but he had to dig up all that sod where the mulch now is, and then he did his normal dig way down and amend the soil trick. Extra problem was with the edger on the left side, it popped out and he’s not ready yet to yank all those stones out so he had to install it again. One more small bit of garden space down. And this one in particular is great as it eliminates mowing over the side of the bank. That was a really irritating section of yard.

I’ve been told this tiny tree will really shine in the winter. That it’s needles turn a bright yellow. He’s really excited about this one, though I am not sure which trees he’s not excited about.

I took another quick photo.

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Last year Mr. Ink put this little garden area in to hold a couple of his evergreens and a peace rose. That rose did not make it. Mr. Ink is currently trying desperately to keep a new rose, so he planted this year’s rose. I can’t remember what it’s called, but it is a little bit heartier, and it’s a lovely coral color, which is actually what I most wanted there. The blooms on the thing when we purchased it were HUGE. Mr. Ink planted it, the blooms went all dead and I kept deadheading it for a bit in order to allow it to work on acclimating rather than blooming. It looked a little shocked for a bit, but now is throwing up these tiny little blooms of perfect color. I’ll take it! It looks like it’s doing much better as well. If we can get this one to last the winter, we may plant more. I still want a peace rose, and we have hopes for something VERY red.

That’s about it from this corner of the world! This weekend’s BIG plan is to mulch my new veggie garden. Mr. Ink says he’s going to get a truck load for that project. Probably needs it! I think my current stack of mulch would MAYBE cover 1/3 of the veggie garden, and a truck load is easily the cheaper option. But most of all, while it is supposed to be cooler this week, summer has only begun and I need that garden to hold moisture, which it is most decidedly not doing at the moment.

 

One Promised Photo

We are heading back into pretty warm weather around here. We got the mowing done anyhow, which is great because no one will want to do it today, at almost 100F! I got a little bit of weeding done as well, as per the list. And my step goal. Because of the mowing.

And I grabbed a photo of my latest finished project. I started this on Sunday evening when we were volunteering, and finished it midday during my day long training. I started with this handspun yarn:

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I didn’t check on the yardage because I was basically walking out the door and didn’t have time. Turns out I only had 180 yards! Thankfully it started and ended with the same color, so I just seamed up the ends and made a cowl, since it certainly wasn’t long enough to be a scarf. The cowl will easily wrap twice around the neck, so I consider that a perfectly fine success. The patter is one row handspun scarf again, as I wanted something super easy to work on during both events.

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It turned out beautifully! It’s super soft as well. Great easy project, great success, and I may do this again with smaller amounts of handspun. Though I’ll do a provisional cast on in the future so that I can avoid the unsightly seam.

Today I am not planning on anything productive. Except perhaps watering my plants. I did yank a few weeds this morning and did some deadheading of flowers, as I knew that doing so after work would likely be a no go. We’ve got two days of high heat and then it looks like it’ll be down to a nicer temperature again, so we just have to get through it.

I am just a few rows away from finishing the first side of the tibetan clouds stole now. Having said I’d like to finish it before Tour de Fleece, I seem to have kicked myself into high gear. I am working on the edging charts now and will have that portion cast off tonight. Then all that’s left is the second side, and I think I’ll get started right away. So, it may be a pretty boring blog week around here!

This week June 19-25

I am a day late, I know. I blame the full, longer than normal day of training yesterday.

Last week:

  • 3 more repeats on the sides of tibetan clouds, I have 3 repeats done on the first side. I need 8.5 before the final border charts.
    • I did this, and then promptly put it down to cast on ALL THE THINGS!
  • Clean out work bag! It’s a desperate situation at this point, I can’t find anything.
  • Commute by bike once this week. (Maybe this time I’ll get it done?)
  • Deep cleaning of the bathroom. I’ve been neglecting it. Mr. Ink has been doing so much planting that scrubbing down the walls feels pointless, as the next day there’s mud on them again. Sort of like the fridge door. But, this is NO excuse to fail to get the job done!
  • Some weeding of the rose of sharon garden bed? JUST SOME? Maybe the issue is that it feels overwhelming so I don’t even start.
    • The advice of starting with 2 minutes a day was highly effective. Almost every day I spent about 15 minutes on it. On one day I spent quite a bit more time on it, including laying a little more mulch
  • Get photos of all the trees for 2017, and put them in an album for comparison next year.
    • This is done, but I also want to take additional pictures. Some of the ones I have are just utilitarian. I kind of want to get a few pictures of some trees where the garden is also in full bloom.

I have pictures to share, but no crafting photos. I will have one tomorrow.

It was a pretty good weekend, and Sunday was certainly a day with Miss Butterfly. She really does color our world. And I think you’ll be able to see that in this series of photos.

Miss Butterfly and I began our Sunday with chores after breakfast. We got quite a lot done. Mr. Ink had decided that he wanted to go to Golden Corral for lunch on father’s day. (*HORK!*) So, at some point we had gotten hungry, and wandered out to see what he was up to. He was busy making a larger cage for his weeping redbud. Of course Miss Butterfly had to get right in the middle of that.

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I told Mr. Ink it was the perfect father’s day photo, he’s building her a cage!

After annoying him for a bit, we went out to lunch. I can tell you one thing I HATE with a passion are buffets. Miss Butterfly had never been before, well, neither had I and it’s too bad I couldn’t keep it that way. To me, it’s like feeding cattle. Everything is done as fast as possible to consume as much as possible with very little nod to good food. The plates are inevitably dirty and wet and you are stuck inspecting your silverware as well, just in case. It’s distasteful.

Miss Butterfly loved it. Most specifically because she could get cotton candy.

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I think Mr. Ink was pleased too, and I guess that’s what counts since it was his day. Though….I told him that from here on out every time he takes me to a place like this, I am going to require that we also go to my favorite little french bistro. I think it’s a fair trade.

We went to a garden center, of course, just to look around. Then we made it home with JUST enough time for Mr. Ink to fix his bike, and then head off to our next adventure. Which turned out to be an adventure even getting there. A couple years back I purchased a bike rack that holds 3 bikes. We finally, for the first time, put it on my honda. Then we loaded the bikes. And then….we realized that 3 heavy bikes makes my trunk warp. At that point we were already supposed to be on the road. I took the bikes off the honda, and Mr. Ink pulled out the truck. Then we had to unload all the large rocks that were stored in the truck bed before we could put the bikes in. Then we loaded the bikes and were on our way.

You see, it’s college world series time here. And being a decidedly non sports person, this has done nothing for me but make traffic terrible and interfere with my work life when I cannot get a guest a hotel room. But, a dear friend of mine organizes bike parking downtown, run by volunteers. I tend to not volunteer for that. But I got a text from him saying that his wife’s grandfather had passed away and they had to head out of town for the funeral. (Unfortunately, funeral is a word that seems to keep making a regular appearance on this blog, it would be great if that would stop for awhile.) So, he was desperate to find some help for the weekend, help he trusts, so he could travel without concern. He said “I know this is super not your thing, but please?” And I said “The whole family will be there.”

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We all went down and checked in bikes in front of a completely open and terribly loud bar, across from the very busy ball park. It was super not my thing. But I got to knit. And spend time with my family. And get a little bike ride in, as we parked far away and rode in together.

We stayed up too late, but everything went smoothly, we didn’t have any issue with people failing to collect their bikes at the end of the night. We didn’t have to make any phone calls. And the weather was downright perfect, not hot, not too cool, breezy, clear.

And then I went in early for work the next day for a full day of training that was ridiculously boring, but I finished some knitting that is currently blocking, and did some more knitting, and when I got home I was so grumpy that Mr. Ink thought something terrible must have happened at work. But no, it was just that I was SO tired and headachey and just wanted to go to bed. So, Miss Butterfly and Mr. Ink stayed up and watched a movie together while I was in bed by 9:15.

I’ve got a few garden photos.

Day lilies have begun to bloom. The one on the right is from my actual day lily garden spot. The one on the right is from the holding area. I knew that most of what I put in the holding area would be of the ditch lily variety, but I ALSO knew I had some pretty colorful ones in there. So, I lined them all up by the fence and waited a year. I am not disappointed, there’s at least 3 in that area I’ll move to my regular day lily garden. Now I’ll flag the lilies that are “good” and wait until they are done blooming to move them.

I thought I had a photo of our balloon flowers blooming, but I guess not! I’ll try again later. After all, that garden bed is about to be in overdrive. It’s SO CLOSE to fully blooming.

Anyhow, the list for this week:

  • Finish the first side of Tibetan Clouds stole, and complete the set up for the second side. (I’d really like to have the entire stole complete by July 1, but I am not sure that’s going to happen without hating the project.)
  • Keep up on the daily tiny bit of weeding, it’s so effective!
  • Get Miss Butterfly packed up for her second week of camp.
  • Start thinking about packing her up for her trip to visit my parents. (The turn around time between second week of camp and her trip east is disturbingly short.)
  • Work on getting my step goals again, I’ve been falling down on this particular job lately.

That’s about it from here, it’s going to be another busy week and weekend. I’d love to stop saying that, but it’s looking unlikely any time soon at this point!

Why I Spin

No, don’t expect some philosophical thoughts on the subject. I am going to show you in a picture.

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This is why I spin. To create yarn with colors that move in interesting and unpredictable ways. I absolutely love knitting with handspun, as I find it endlessly fascinating.

The yarn on this project is this recent handspun:

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I really liked the way it turned out, and so I found a project I was hoping would be fairly intuitive and easy. The pattern is called Fiona, and at least at this stage I am not finding it particularly intuitive. It’s easy knitting, but I do have to keep following the pattern. So it’s not one I can have out and about.

Since we are volunteering tonight and I suspect there’ll be knitting time, I cast on another project yesterday. I had this great yarn of Miss Marja’s, it’s sort of scrappy with tons of different samples all spun into a 2 ply yarn. So I figured a fun linen stitch cowl would work perfectly. I don’t have a picture yet, I just don’t have quite enough on the needles to show it of in any big way. Hopefully tomorrow.

Our volunteer project is outdoors in the sun, so I am exceedingly thankful that our high today is supposed to be 82 only. It’ll be an amazing evening to be forced to be outside. Since the recent storm, there’s tons of volunteer opportunities this weekend, and I’ve been wishing I could fit more in. But since we’d already committed to this one, this is the one we’ll have to stick with even though it isn’t my favorite type of event. I’ll take some pictures.

As for now, I think it’s time I get some outdoor work done! Might as well take advantage of this lovely weather while it’s here.

The Calm After the Storm

We had a pretty major storm slam through last evening. Our family and house and trees are fine, but the entire neighborhood was without power, except us. Our power flickered and surged many times during the storm but held strong. So many not as fortunate as us, those with mature trees. The winds reached something like 120 mph, and there was a tornado just south of us. Many photos today of friends in the area with every tree in their yard down.

After the storm rolled through, Mr. Ink and I went out to clean up branches that had flown into our yard. Branches from neighborhood trees that had whipped through alarmingly, but stayed away from the house itself. And we looked up and noticed the sky. It was so amazing and spectacular. The heat had broken, the wind was still blowing and the clouds and sunset were enough to bring tears to your eyes. Mr. Ink took some pictures, but nothing compares to actually being there.

In the end, we brought our lawn chairs to the front yard, grabbed a glass of wine, and sat out front watching the sunset. (And listening to the cars honk in rage as the stoplights nearby weren’t working.) It was a pretty spectacular evening, and as the sun went down I realized that there were fireflies all around us. Just an amazing top 10 summery moment. The top of the hill might not be the best place to be when 120 mph winds roll through, but it sure is the best place to be to see the amazing sky. We’ll take it.

I went to pick up Miss Butterfly early this morning from camp. That area got hit pretty hard as well, all of camp is without power, and without water. So, it’s a bit of a nightmare for them right now, and picking her up was unexpectedly tricky as well because they were so discombobulated. But, on the way home I found out that Miss Butterfly skipped a level entirely this year, is now an advanced rider, and gets to begin jumping her horse next year. It’s awesome! I really wish we had the kind of cash to send her to lessons year round, she just loves it so much and she’s so comfortable with those animals.

I finished up a scarf and got it blocked before the storm rolled through, so I snapped a picture this morning.

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Turned out pretty well, I have to say! Once again, this is Miss Marja’s handspun, and the pattern is one row handspun scarf.

And that’s it from here! Miss Butterfly is off with her father at the funeral, and I’ve got quite an extensive load of laundry to do. I am basically hoping to do the laundry and then get it right back into the suitcase as she’s at camp again after this week. We are also doing some volunteer week tomorrow evening and have a housewarming party to attend tonight. Mr. Ink works today and somehow in between all of that, we have to fit lawn mowing and yard work in. This is a weekend that’s going to fly by in a heartbeat!

More Trees

I didn’t grab any photos of knitting last evening. There’s not much new to show. Nor did I do much knitting yesterday. I did get my more than 15 minutes of weeding done. I finally told Mr. Ink that I was trying to commit to that each day. Surprisingly, his response was a very genuine “Wow! I bet you are seeing great progress!” Surprising because he weeds for hours on end.

He headed out to look for another shrub. He’s nutty, I cannot believe he’d want to plant another thing. He didn’t find what he was looking for after 2 different stores, but he came home with a new watering can and a very nice pair of little clippers for deadheading.

Sometimes he reminds me of my grandfather. I seem to remember that during his retirement, my grandfather used to listen to my grandmother talk, not really say much about it, and then suddenly the thing she wanted would show up at the house. Oftentimes in this case, handmade. Mr. Ink is like that. I’ll mention that I need a new something or other. And, then he’ll come home with “surprises.” It’s pretty awesome. Anyhow, after my weeding, me and my new titanium clippers went out and did a ton of deadheading and cutting plants back.

Today we are off to the funeral of one of Mr. Ink’s coworkers who passed away in a terrible accident. It’s a double service, as his partner was also involved. I won’t know anyone, but Mr. Ink worked with this young man for 12 years and doesn’t want to miss it. Then I found out last evening that Miss Butterfly’s great grandmother did indeed pass away this week. The funeral is set for Saturday morning, so we’ve arranged to get her picked up from camp early so she can get home, wash up, get changed, and head to the funeral. She’s going to be rather startled I think, but I know she wouldn’t want to miss the funeral. What a week!

So, all I’ve got now is photos of a few more of our trees. Not all of them of course, but a few.

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This is one set of trees that will hopefully over time grow enough to give us extra privacy and help cut down on road noise. Mr. Ink put them in at the end of the first summer I think, so they are closing in on 2 years here. They didn’t grow much in year one, but we are seeing lots of new growth this spring. They are pretty happy. Beyond that is my weird weeping spruce monster. I purchased it quite cheap last year, and as it turns out, that’s because the top of it was broken. When we got it, it was desperately root bound, and a definite weeper. Such droopy branches. Once planted, it perked up quite a bit, the branches lifted, and it almost looked as if it were dancing. I call it our dancing monster. It’s a SUPER weird tree. I do hope the top fills in a bit, as Mr. Ink is training a couple of the branches to stick straight up in hopes it doesn’t look weird forever. It’s a dwarf, it’s probably already 10 years old, and likely won’t grow all that much.

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This one, too, is closing in on two years old. It was just a ridiculous spindly thing the first year and has filled in very nicely. I don’t love that it’s crooked, but Mr. Ink likes to train his tree trunks into weird shapes, so it’s starting this way and over time will probably change. It’s Kousa Dogwood, which has some really amazing buds but this one hasn’t done so yet.

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The green one in front is a vine maple, with the japanese maple behind it, and then a fothergilla behind that. The fothergilla and the vine maple are new this year, the japanese maple one year old.

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Right in front there is a Korean Fir tree. It’s a year old. These trees prefer more shady cooler weather, so it’s a bit of a stretch in this area. Mr. Ink had an elaborate set up to shade it last year. It grew not at all last year but this spring it’s got some new growth which is very exciting. To the right in the half finished garden bed is a black lace elderberry which has luckily tripled in size this year. And another interesting evergreen thing that I can’t remember the name of. There’s a whipcord toward the back under the hanging basket, not sure how big that is supposed to get.

And, that’s about it for today’s tree tour. I am slowly gathering all the tree photos for 2017. I’ve got one or two more to take and then I’ll be done. Sometimes I take a photo, and then think “This particular shrub will look better in a few weeks, let’s wait!” So, there’ll be more in the future.