This Week June 26-July 2

Last week’s list:

  • 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!
    • This was mostly done. Not sure I hit every single day, but most of them. Trouble is, there aren’t that many more weeds to pull now! Which shows the effectiveness of the 5 minutes a day schedule.
  • 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.)
    • I haven’t really done this properly. I mean, I’ve thought about it, but I haven’t moved toward doing what needs to be done.
  • Work on getting my step goals again, I’ve been falling down on this particular job lately.
    • I got them most days, and I would say that’s pretty good.

Yesterday we did something we haven’t done in about a year. We went on a motorbike ride together. It’s been so long that all the valuable muscles I had built in my left hand and arm to work the rather difficult clutch on the old bike I ride have disappeared. The day was glorious, the ride was amazing, and now I can’t knit. I am quite sore and I’ll need to begin riding regularly again in order to build up my strength. Preferably short rides initially.

So, that means I spent the evening spinning on the patio. The neighbor kids weren’t out, so it was quieter back there, and I got through my nunoco batts I’d started quite some time ago. I’ll post the start and finish pictures.

I am looking forward to plying them! It really is a very pretty gradient.

I haven’t worked on the tibetan clouds stole since I finished the first side and did all the set up rows and charts for it. But, I started a linen stitch scar, horizontally knit, and am really pleased with it at the moment. It seems that when not spinning, my knitting whims wander quite a bit. While I have spinning projects going I tend to be fairly monogamous in my knitting. Not so when I am not spinning. In any case, I’ll grab a photo of that scarf tonight for tomorrow’s post.

It’ll be a crazy busy week around here, I won’t have a night “off” until Thursday. While our plans are fun and should involve photos, I am preemptively getting nervous about social overload. And tonight? I have to go shopping, and we ALL KNOW how much I HATE shopping.

This Week:

  • Get a “bike prom” dress.
  • Finish all details for Miss Butterfly’s trip.
  • Pick Miss Butterfly up from camp, do all the laundry, repack her for her trip to my parents.
  • Hem and iron new kitchen curtains.
  • Motorbike to work once this week. If the weather holds.

That’s it. I am not making other plans on a busy week, and especially not making knitting plans right now. Whatever happens, happens. It’s not like I am on any type of deadline!

My Quiet Morning

Miss Butterfly is off again at camp, and Mr. Ink is sleeping in. I’ve got the house to myself and it’s delicious!

I finished up my little handspun project. I like it more than I ever imagined I would actually, it looks really nice when worn. I crocheted a little flower for it as I had enough handspun left over. I may make another of these if I find I’ve got the correct handspun in stash.

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I’ve been trying to set aside knits to give away to my family as our upcoming vacation is a family reunion, and I had intended for this to go in that box. But…I think this one may have to stay with me a bit longer.

I had a slow moving unproductive day yesterday. I didn’t even spin on the patio! The neighbor kids were out and very loud, and while I don’t begrudge them their time outdoors in the least, it’s also not what I want to be listening to necessarily. So, no patio spinning for me. We’ll see how today goes.

But, another day lily has opened in my holding area.

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It is certainly going to get saved and put in the day lily garden. Such a nice creamy yellow.

That’s all from here this quiet Sunday morning!

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 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!

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!

Rain!

I keep joking that I made it rain yesterday by the sheer force of my will. We woke up to what looked like storm clouds brewing, but often summer storms dissipate right before they hit our city. And, when it’s mid 90s already, we call them summer storms. Thankfully they did not dissipate. The rain we got wasn’t hard rain, but it did do a good job watering our plants for us, and went a long way toward filling our rain barrel. This meant that Mr. Ink and I got an evening “off.” Because at this point our gardens are so large that watering them properly really can eat up an evening.

Despite the fact that the rain made everything super humid, I decided to go out and weed the rose of sharon garden bed. Now, yesterday Bagheeracr at Experiencing Local made the comment that maybe I could set the timer for 2 minutes and then get on with it. I figured I’d do myself 3 minutes better and set the timer for 5 minutes. And, I figured if I do that every evening I can, I am likely to feel less overwhelmed. So, I set my timer for 5 minutes, weeded for 10 or 15 minutes, and made decent progress without feeling overwhelmed or miserable. In fact, even in the humidity, that amount of time wasn’t enough for me to break a sweat.

So, I am going to try that trick again. But next time with a bucket rather than throwing the weeds on the lawn, which always annoys Mr. Ink even though he comes by and picks them up anyhow. (The patience of that man is quite amazing, so we try not to take advantage of it too often.)

If I was really smart, I’d go out and weed first thing in the morning before work! In fact, I wandered out this morning to look at the garden very briefly, to see my huge lily beginning to bloom!

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Isn’t that wild? I thought “I should really plant some more of those” and then I realized that those are ones which I propagated, so I’d better not. With any luck, I’ll have more in a few years, and they’ll get overwhelming quickly.

This garden bed is a constant work in progress. You can see that we’ve still got lots of area to fill in. And I’ve got to get my mums pinched back again. Mr. Ink just bought a plant for that garden, but has planted it so far back it’s hard to see. I think he’s going to be moving it forward so it doesn’t just smoosh in with everything else. There’s some stuff in there I am allowing to stay for now, but will be removed in the future. But, it’s a pretty vast improvement on last year. img_4534

This. This is what that garden bed looked like last year. (And what you don’t see are the huge volunteer tree roots that we kept cutting back but really needed digging up. We still find them sometimes.)

I was pretty motivated to work on the list from yesterday, getting my work bag cleaned out and more than half a repeat done on the tibetan clouds stole, in addition to regular keep the house running chores. I always get irritable at the thought of having to put away dishes while Miss Butterfly is away, it’s her job. But then I realize that Mr. Ink and I use fewer dishes overall, and I really only have to run the dishwasher twice when she’s gone for a week.

After those things were done, Mr. Ink and I finished our listen to A Man Called Ove while he made dinner and I worked on this new project:

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The pattern is the One Row Handspun Scarf, and the yarn is some of Miss Marja’s handspun. I’d tried to make it into another scarf awhile back, but could tell I’d run out of yarn. Let’s see if I can find a photo:

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There we go. The ruching ate up way too much yarn, so I had to rip it back out. I still want to make the above pattern at some point, but I’ll save it for something with more yarn. I the meantime, I really love how the one row handspun scarf pattern is showing off the yarn. I started with 7 balls of yarn, and I am currently knitting on my 3rd ball of yarn. I bet she made this yarn on spindles, because all the balls are about the same size. Which means at the rate of one ball of yarn per day, I’ll have a completed scarf by the end of the weekend.

A week or so ago I think I expressed that I really wanted to work on something out of handspun, rather than working on all my projects out of commercial yarn. Now I’ve got two handspun scarves on the needles, which really helps scratch that itch! I am enjoying my month of knitting. Earlier this year I was able to get my yarn stash down to JUST ONE cabinet. Since my spinning picked up again, I was struggling again. But, with this latest month of knitting I’ve got everything put away in that one cabinet again, much to my relief. I never want to expand beyond it! In fact, I’d like to get it down to such a reasonable level that I can easily move yarn about in the storage cubes, making each skein easier to see. Right now they are sort of stuffed in there pretty tightly.

I guess that’s it for around here! I am pretty pleased with my progress yesterday evening. So much so I’ve made myself an additional list of other stuff I need to get done, like purchasing plane tickets for vacation and stuff. Let’s see if I can be equally good at getting that one done!