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!


Boy did I go off on a tangent this weekend!

On Saturday evening, when Mr. Ink was preparing to head out for his night of live music, I had wandered into my craft room, looked at the boxes of dyed wool, and the large box of add in bits and bobs for the drum carder, and decided I wanted to pull some wool out and prep, JUST PREP, for the next set of batts. I pulled out 4 ounces total of two colors of brown, one lighter and one darker. Then grabbed my add ins, and got started. The goal was to take the browns and make them relatively similar by using mostly the same add ins on each batt. Just a few differences of color, but nothing major. As I went about it though, I realized that I was putting quite a lot of luxury fibers in there, so these batts would turn out amazingly soft.

I set the fiber piles back in my craft room for future drum carding. And went back to knitting and TV watching while Mr. Ink was out. But, as the evening wore on and I tired of TV watching, I couldn’t resist putting one, just one batt together out of my 6 piles of fiber. It was awesome. The next morning, before Mr. Ink woke up, I thought “Let me just do one more” and then by the time he woke up I’d done 3 more. And after breakfast I finished them up.


These started with BFL/silk top. I added some firestar, some very soft alpaca, cashmere, camel, bamboo, and tons of silk. There are silk noils, mulberry silk, tussah silk, and then I also added a huge amount of my current obsession, silk throwsters waste. Last year, all my batts had large amounts of recycled sari silk. This year it’s throwsters waste. I can’t get enough of it. I love the texture. I love how some of it is like regular silk, almost like in mawata silk form, and then some is like long silk threads, which make for extremely interesting spinning.

Well, here’s the thing. Now I had almost 9 ounces of freshly created batts, and that’s something quite irresistible to me. But, I also had a braid already on the wheel, so I figured “let me just finish that up” and so I did.


Of course, I didn’t ply because I wanted to, you know, just TEST the new batts. And so I “tested” them, by spinning them. For a really long time.


At lunchtime, Mr. Ink asked if I wanted to go for a bike ride. It was an exceedingly lovely day so naturally I said yes to that idea, and we went for a lovely bike ride. I asked Mr. Ink if he’d mind if I took the fat bike, since I know I can be a little slow on that bike. He said he didn’t mind, so I took it. We did a nice long loop from the house, as the wind was nothing to sneeze at, and we started out going into the wind. But when we turned and had the wind at our backs, I got that fat bike moving over 20 mph on a flat! I was really flying. It was great fun, the sound of those tires is like a tractor, so everyone knows you are coming up behind them and just moves out of the way. And other cyclists see that silly pink fat bike moving that fast and just grin ear to ear. I even left Mr. Ink in the dust for quite awhile. I had been a bit worried about trying to get that bike up the very large and long hill back to our house, it’s a tough hill even on my regular bike and I’d never tried that hill before. But the fat bike is geared appropriately for such things, and I actually had no trouble at all. It took TIME, but at no point did I think “I won’t be able to make it.”  I think I’ll stop asking Mr. Ink if he minds if I take that bike now, it’s clear that I am almost as fast with it now, and I keep up just fine. And I do so with comfort and a great deal of fun.

Once home, I decided it was time to drag out the table and a couple chairs for the back patio. And then my afternoon looked like this:


Yep, with 83F weather, it was time for a little outdoor spinning! And flower watching. They were visibly growing yesterday, I gained about 3 inches on my hyacinths throughout the day. And take a look at these daffodils!


Mr. Ink continued digging up sod, replanting it by the road, digging up soil, amending it, and placing it back where he wanted it to be. He’s got a bunch of trees coming in the next few weeks and is prepping the yard for that. I am glad he got quite a bit done, as it is to rain all week, and he’d have gone stir crazy otherwise.

He also mentioned the crocuses again, saying that he thought they’d look great in a rock garden. I suspect my vision of crocuses all over the front hill just may work!

In any case, I went off on quite a spinning tangent this weekend, and it was lovely, and we had a beautiful day. I need to stop just enjoying these beautiful days, and get something done, like scraping, sanding, and painting the door frame and window frames of the shop. At least then I’ll feel more productive while Mr. Ink is madly working in the yard!

Wishing everyone a great week!

Completed Clue Three

It was a pleasantly knitting filled morning for me yesterday, and I finished my clue 3.


I am back to being quite enchanted with the crazy thing, and will be truly looking forward to Friday so I have what I need to compete it. At this point, I have run out of loads of colors. Not that I am hurting for color to add, it’s just that all the smaller balls of color are gone, having been knit into the 4 sections where color changes were fast and furious. That’s ok, if I am guessing correctly, and I could easily not be, the next sections will be quite large and I’ll need the back up of bigger skeins of color. Since two of the “colors” I’ve been using are actually large loop batt handspun with multiple colors in them, there’s no danger whatsoever of running out of yarn.

While yesterday began quite cold, by the end of the day it was sunny and in the 50s. Mr. Ink spent all day digging. This weekend’s project seems to be digging out sod, moving it and laying it in new areas, and then digging up soil and amending that soil in anticipation of all the trees that should start arriving any minute now. He had mentioned to me that the soil is just perfect for this job, it’s easy to dig and easy to work with. Plus, it’s supposed to rain all week starting tomorrow or Tuesday. Well, I decided if the soil is perfect, I’d get my propagated lilies that went dormant into the ground. I’ve got more lilies, but they never did go dormant and are going nuts in our living room. I’ll wait until the end of April to put those outdoors.

I got a pretty pleasant walk in. Mr. Ink decided to go see some live music, it’s not a band I like so I stayed home. I pulled out wool and add ins for some new batts, and got started on those instead. All in all an extremely lovely day.

Now I am back to knitting on find your fade, but I am at a point where the rows are super long! So, I keep knitting a row and then wandering off to do something else. Not the most efficient way of getting a shawl done, but it does help keep my interest.

Talk soon!

What a Mystery!

Clue 3 came out on the mystery shawl, and I got right home and got started! I was so excited!


That blue triangle was the first section in this clue, and the seed stitch to the right of it is the second section of this clue, though far from finished. I mimicked the color progression in the previous seed stitch section so far. I am about to veer off course though, since I have run out of the next yarn color. I’ll get back on course for a bit, and then I’ll be choosing new color combos again, as I’ll have far more seed stitch in this section than there was in the previous one.

This is also the clue in which I got to find out if my original first section mistake was going to be a problem or not. It looks ok, which is a great relief after ALL this knitting! Here’s the whole thing as it currently is.


This shawl really is ridiculous, but it’s also growing on me. I will be making the biggest size, and it really may be used mostly as a blanket. It’s kind of a memory blanket, in the sense that all of those yarns have knitting or spinning memories attached to them. And really, it’s a cool way to preserve that.

In garden news, the flood gates have opened, and we’ve got flowers opening all over the yard.

Knowing Mr. Ink isn’t as big a fan of flowers as I am, I asked him how he felt about all the pops of spring color in the yard. I asked him this because I secretly wanted to plant crocuses all over the front banks, as it looks SO BARE this time of year. Mr. Ink’s response was extremely positive, “My only complaint” he says “Is that there just isn’t ENOUGH of them!” I don’t think he quite realizes that I planted 50 bulbs. And that there are more on the way all the time. And that those 50 bulbs, providing they survive, will create more and more each year. But, I do think there may be a good case for planting them all over the front bank now, since the response was so positive.

We did also spend a little time on yard work yesterday evening. The weather was pleasant though windy. Can you believe we are already having to pull weeds as well? It’s a bit demoralizing to realize that already has to start. But any time in the yard is a good time in the yard I think.

I’ve been on a low carb diet for a solid 3 weeks now, and not feeling too overly annoyed by it. This morning I decided that I really needed to try something new, as I am so sick of eggs for breakfast! I tried soy flour pancakes, assuming I wouldn’t like them at all. I don’t like syrup, so I am not even remotely tempted to add carbs to my low carb pancakes. Well, they weren’t bad at all! They exceeded my expectations immensely. But they are extremely filling, so I’ll be saving that as a treat. It does leave me eager to try a soy flour flat bread recipe I found, so that might become tomorrow’s project.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend, that the east coast snow is beginning to melt, and that you, too, are subjected to signs of season change all around you.