Knitwear Model

Popping my head up on the other side of a stressful grant situation. I had one due on Wednesday, it was one I’ve never done before, and we ended up pushing it until quite late. At one point, we were still waiting on information from one participant, even though all our other documents were gathered. I was told “Well, I haven’t heard from him.” And I basically said “It’s time to take to the internet, see what we can find, and make something up ourselves, because we are in danger of doing all this work for nothing.” And that’s what we did. Desperate times and all.

I got home Wednesday evening, late, and quite mentally exhausted. Fell asleep on the couch, and then once I woke up, really knew I didn’t want to do anything. So, I finished the Venetian Blind cape, soaked and blocked that, and then finished the Lighter Than Perfume stole. I didn’t block that, it would have been way too much work. But, it was satisfying to have an evening of getting stuff off the needles.

Last evening also felt like a finishing evening, as I blocked the stole, and then had Miss Butterfly pick out a great vintage button for her cape, and attached it. I was tired, and didn’t really want to grab a photo, but I did anyhow. Miss Butterfly chose the knitwear model shot, all I did was snap a photo.

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It’s pretty fantastic, her shot set up as well as the cape! I must be honest, I don’t know if she’ll wear that cape or not, though she didn’t take it off immediately when she got back indoors. It does fit me as well, so if she doesn’t perhaps I will.

I am glad I got that photo though, as it looks like it’ll just be raining for the next 4 days. My photo taking opportunities may be less than ideal, few and far between. It also means a pretty tough end to 30 days of biking. I guess I’ll get my rain badge?

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This is what our kitchen/dining room looks like at the moment. This is what happens when you’ve got two gardeners in the house who absolutely CANNOT manage to wait until all chance of frost is over. We had to bring in all the hanging baskets and potted plants due to very low temps overnight. They’ve been indoors for 2 nights, (There are 3 more hanging baskets elsewhere) and the weekend has a couple more pretty low temp nights in store for us. I suspect these will go out during the day, but back in at night for a bit. A little extra work, yes, but I am also hoping it means a head start on a growing season.

In other crafty news, I finished spinning the yarn wench singles, and began on the dyeabolical singles for my 3 braid combo spin. I am about 1/4 of the way through those. And goodness, that Iris You Were Here is a gorgeous colorway, I’ll be getting more of that!  I began one of those irritating messy bun hats for Miss Butterfly who will likely use it regularly in the winter. I am about halfway done with it, but I am not quite sure it’s big enough. If it isn’t, I’ll evaluate and begin again. It’s been a pretty quick project. I also began another shawl out of commercial yarn. It’s one I’ve knit before, the Lillia Hyrna out of Knitters Book of Wool. I brought the cotton slub yarn Big Waffle to work, as it wasn’t seeing much knitting time. It still isn’t, I’ve had lots of skip lunch days but it should, in the future, see some more.

That’s about it for around here, when it’s busy, I treasure the weeks that aren’t “exciting.” And that’s exactly what we’ve had this week. Not exciting, but busy.

Exhaustion

I rode my bike to work yesterday. It was windy in the morning, but I didn’t really bother about it much. It didn’t slow me down. But, on the way home, the wind had picked up significantly, and I had to fight it all the way home. Despite my heavy fatbike, I was struggling to keep myself upright in addition to fighting against the wind. It was a rough trip home. Thankfully once home and showered I really didn’t have much else planned other than regular chores. No more commuting to work this week, it’s supposed to be 34F the morning that I could ride due to the forecast being dry. No thanks, I’ll save it for another day. Needless to say, I am exhausted.

I remember this feeling from when I was training hard for RAGBRAI a few years ago. (520 miles in 7 days). I’d train and train and train and then I’d just hit a wall where I almost couldn’t pedal my bike. I worried, that entire spring, that the wall I hit would happen on the week long ride. Then, I realized that’s why all the experienced riders took the week before off. Or at least seriously cut back on their rides. They rode for fun during that week, gently, and spent a lot of time packing rather than riding. And it was true, it worked!

So, tonight is my night “off.” I’ll do a ride around the block to get my 30 days of biking ride in, but I can feel that I need time off the bike now. Actually, I’ll probably do a ride around the block 2 days in a row. By Thursday, things should be looking up.

I got a photo of the 3 braid combo spin. I am working on the yarn wench braid, as of this morning I am halfway through it.

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Somehow those colors are a lot more muted in real life. But, if we put it next to the dyeing arts braid:

Well, already I think this will be fun!

I also grabbed a photo of my huge mulching project. A before picture of a small section, and the after photo.

I still have a small but complicated section to work on to the left of that mulched garden photo. And sorry about all the drooping plants, Miss Butterfly and I actually sat on them in order to access other areas of that garden.

And now on to the front banks. Over the winter, Mr. Ink chopped back the spirea on the front bank. He decided that the older dead wood had to go. He spent an amazing amount of time on it, and it surely paid off.

The rock alyssum is blooming nicely now, the sedum look great, and the spirea on the front bank give it a burst of different greens that looks really nice. Still a ton of work to be done on the front bank, but it sure is different from when we moved in.

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Check this mess out!

It’s good to look back at what we started with from time to time. In fact, I need to do it regularly.

This Week

Last week’s list:

  • Ride bike every day
  • Finish “Sugar Skull” spin
  • 2 repeats of Lighter than Perfume
    • This is actually pretty close to being done now, I’ve got a lot more yarn, but there will be a point at which the length gets ridiculous. I keep reminding myself how much lace grows upon blocking as I knit yet another repeat in hopes to use more yarn.
  • If weather continues to hold beautifully…scrape, sand, and paint around shop doorway.
    • I didn’t do this. The weather held, but I didn’t do it. Instead, I took that really weedy flower bed, pulled weeds section by section, and mulched it really well. I spent all weekend on it, and it’s not done yet. But, I also dug out the ditch lilies and planted hollyhock and poppy seeds. I figured that while the shop doorway would hold, those weeds weren’t going to get any easier to deal with. Priorities, right?
  • Commute by bike one day this week.
    • Yeah, did that Friday and again this morning. It’s wonderful!

This weekend was just a whole lot of getting on with it. I am afraid I didn’t do very well at all with gathering pictures. I was just too intent on all the things I was doing. It was an absolutely lovely weekend.

We went to my favorite little farmer’s market style plant shop on Saturday, just an open air place with inexpensive fairly local plants. They don’t bother with shrubs or trees, so I think that keeps prices down, needing less real estate over all. We got a bunch of plants for our containers and hanging baskets, and spent a good portion of Saturday creating baskets. I also decided to work on that flower bed, and it looks fantastic now! I am not quite done, but it’ll be a lot easier to keep up with now. I will get a photo of that this evening. I am only not done because I ran out of both time and mulch.

On Sunday, we went to another plant nursery. Mr. Ink said “It’s too bad my bike is out of commission, we could go there by bike.” I had a sadface. Then I thought about it for a minute, and thought about the fleet of bikes in the garage, and thought that there had to be a solution here. I said “Do you want to ride my fatbike?” His hearty YES! told me that he’d been waiting for me to ask.

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I told him later “You look good on that bike!” And he responded “EVERYONE looks good on this bike!” It’s so true. Sadly, the bike is ridiculously small for him, but he carried on and enjoyed the ride. As did I! Today marks day 24 of 30 days of biking, and I will certainly do it again next year. It’s been a great way to get back in biking shape, renew the interest, and just feel all the joy there is to feel about biking. Long gone are the days of sore butt and cramping leg muscles, that ended pretty early in the month. Now it’s just hard work and good fun!

In spinning, I did begin my 3 braid combo spin. I did get a photo of the first braid in progress, it’s the one from The Dyeing Arts.

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I did finish this braid and I started the next one, the one from Yarn Wench. But, I didn’t get a photo of that one, I was too busy just getting on with it. I’ll try to slow down tonight for a photo of that too.

There’s cooler weather and rain in the forecast, that might be what’s driving our motivation at the moment. However, we’ve been hitting the yard pretty hard, and the rain will be a welcome down time, at least for me.

I am not making a list this week. I’ve got a grant due and a progress report due and a bunch more visitors coming in. There’s just no telling how this week will look, and adding the stress of trying to achieve a particular list probably will not help stress levels. I’ll be back at it next week I think.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend!

 

The Sunrise

Guys! I did it! I woke up very early, and rode my bike to work, and got to watch the sun come up while I was at it. It was lovely! It took me exactly 1 hour from my doorstep to the bike rack at work on the fatbike. This means next time I can move my leave the house time back another 15 minutes. Somehow, 15 minutes makes ALL the difference at 5:30 a.m.  In fact, pushing my wake up time to 5:45 means that I’d be waking up at the same time I often do when not biking to work.

This morning I was so nervous about missing out on the morning ride that I woke up before 5. So, I actually got coffee and knitting time in before I left. I think the hot coffee kept me warm in the 45F weather. My toes are a bit cold, but other than that I was ok. The ride home should be a pleasant 65F, so I’ve got no worries at all about the afternoon ride.

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Check this out! That’s 760 yards of fingering weight 2 ply! It may end up being one that ends up wound and on the needles in short order. There’s just something about those bright colors that calls to me. I showed it off to Mr. Ink last evening and he agreed that it really does resemble a yarn dyed with candy buttons.

While plying this handspun, my brain was already on to my next handspun project. I decided that after watching so many others do one of those 3 braids of different colorway combos, it was my turn.

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This is what I picked out. On top, Iris You Were Here from Dyeabolical yarns, Peacock from The Dyeing Arts in the middle, and Gypsy Soul from The Yarn Wench at the bottom. After I took the photograph, I divided all the braids into smaller color sections, set two of the colorways aside, and began on the middle color. I am going for a fingering weight 3 ply, so I am spinning very thin, and the project may take quite a bit of time.

Our front bank is looking quite charming this spring, our rock alyssum is blooming nicely all of a sudden, and Mr. Ink cut back the dead stuff on all the spirea. With the spirea beginning to grow again, the bank is fairly tidy, neatly trimmed, and getting colorful. So, I took some photos for you. Charming photos. Except that when I went to post them, I realized an errant piece of newspaper had flown into the photo, ruining the shot. So, I’ll try again tonight!

Intention Vs. Reality

I had it all arranged. I brought two changes of clothing to work yesterday, along with my lunches for two days. I packed my bike bag with an extra tire tube, and all the things I’d need to fix a flat. I packed my wallet and my work ID in the bag. I put an ear warmer and an extra jacket and full fingered gloves in there for the morning. I filled my water bottle and charged my lights and got all of that on the bike in preparation for a work commute this morning. I intended to remove any and all excuses for not doing it. I intended to commute to work by bike.

And then? I slept through my alarm. So did Mr. Ink. The reality is, by the time I woke up, all ability to commute to work by bike flew right out the window. I guess I try again tomorrow.

Last evening I did manage to finish up my bright two ply yarn, but it’s still drying so I’ll have to get back to that. However, I’ve been working on a little project that interests me but I haven’t posted a picture yet. I decided to make the Venetian Blind cape/capelet. I used my 6 ply yarn combo recently finished. But, I needed to go down in needle size, and thus up in number of stitches. I have a feeling this will be better suited for a younger person. Miss Butterfly if she wants it. But, maybe with a bit of blocking it’ll be ok. In any case, half the fun was trying out the yarn and that I managed to achieve.

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I’ve got a bit more to go on this and the going has been a bit slower since I seem to have had a serious uptick in gardening and spinning. And bike riding of course. But, it’s pretty and rich and mindless so I have been picking it up here and there to work on it in all the in between spaces.

In garden news, my long awaited black parrot tulips have made an appearance. I planted these with the blush tulips in hopes they’d come up at the same time. No luck. But, I am still thrilled with them.

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Please excuse the mess of this garden. This is my rose of sharon garden that we worked so hard on last year. We really REALLY should have mulched it well last year, but we didn’t. I wanted to keep working on it and we never got around to it. We are paying for that this year. Also of note, everything we assumed we’d fully pulled out of that garden is back. INCLUDING the 50 year old rose that barely produced blooms but was misplaced as it desperately wanted to climb something. I thought I got it all. You can see one of the shoots in this picture, lower left corner. There are 3 shoots coming up. I think I’ll leave them be and see what happens. There’s also a nasty vine I can’t seem to get rid of trying to climb the trunk of the rose of sharon, and both 50 year old peonies we tried to remove and place elsewhere are back. They are back, and they are elsewhere. So, all we did was divide them. And I’ve decided to just let them exist in both places. I think at this point my plan with this garden is to take it a chunk at a time. I’ll take a section of plant, yank back the weeds, and then mulch around that plant. Then move on to the next section when I feel like it. Rather than trying to do it all at once and feeling completely irritable and overwhelmed.

I am thankful for this upcoming weekend, it’s to be a comfortable temp, with no rain predicted. Hopefully that’ll mean quite a lot will get done around the yard.

Garden Views

Things are really starting to move in the garden. I mean, we’ve had warm pleasant weather and lots of rain. Ideal growing conditions. Which means great results with flowers, and unfortunately, also great results with weeds. Here’s some updates:

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I bought this bleeding heart last year. I planted it on the north side of our house, but the soil there is awful. It just didn’t do well at all. So, I moved it partway through the year to the north side of the shop. It is already this year about where it was when I planted it last year. Meaning that last year it died back really badly. But, it has survived, and must like it’s new home.

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I got this plant from a friend last year. It stayed green all winter, and has spread considerably. I didn’t really know what it was. This is the first flower, and my flower ID app says it’s a creeping buttercup. Which is….basically a weed in this area. Meaning, once it’s established, it’s really hard to get rid of. But, it’s so green and pretty! I am having a hard time saying no to it. I may dig some up and put it on the north side of the house where the soil is poor and I desperately want ground cover, that way if it spreads I won’t mind, and if it dies, I won’t mind.

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Check out these lilacs! The neighbors have 5 lilacs that hang over our fence line. I like to say this means we have lilacs too, until I think about the other stuff that hangs over our fence line creating actual problems. Like, volunteer black walnut trees, volunteer paper mulberries, and volunteer chokecherries. Meaning that we spend a LOT of time during the year yanking volunteer seedlings from these trees out of our yard and garden. That being said, these also provide a nice addition to the fence line, keeping extra privacy between the two homes. Mr. Ink is working to fill in the privacy gaps with what he’d call more appropriate trees.

In spinning, I spent less than 5 minutes spinning to finish up my singles and grab a photo:

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I then took a nap. Being out late at that show had me worn out more than expected. I was having trouble driving home without falling asleep! Then I began my plying project.

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These colors, even though they aren’t “my” colors, are fantastic together. I am really loving the resulting yarn. The fractal spin was a perfect choice for the colorway, as everything looks pretty nice together. Though I find the lime green plied with bright pink maybe slightly less than awesome. However, that’s just a small portion of the project. I suspect I am about halfway through the plying of this one.

30 days of biking and a highly recognizable pink fatbike has yet another unexpected advantage. Last night Miss Butterfly and I made a new acquaintance. Actually, we met an entire family. Now, a few days ago I was riding pinkie up a hill in the neighborhood with Mr. Ink in the lead. I was, naturally, struggling up that hill. I got to the top of the hill where there was a stop sign and stopped. Some guy in a car coming the other way was also stopped, and hollered out of the car window at me. But, it was nice hollering. “I like your bike! Is it hard to ride? Are you doing 30 days of biking?!”

Yesterday, Miss Butterfly and I headed out on our bikes over to the park. On the little trail through the park, there was a man pushing a stroller with 10 month old twins. He said “Hey! I saw you the other day, riding up a hill!” I was like “Hey wait, are you the guy hollering from the vehicle?” “Yep, that was me!” he replied. We stopped, admired his twins, chatted with him, he showed us pictures of his older kids and his wife. Miss Butterfly recognized the older kids from school last year. He proudly showed us a picture of him taken last year, 175 pounds heavier, and mentioned that he’d done 30 days of biking last year for the first time, it was his start to biking regularly. He told us where he lived and how he bikes late at night because with 4 kids there’s no time until they all get to bed. Then, his wife dropped by, and his kids dropped by and we met the entire family. Very nice people.

We got home and told Mr. Ink about it. I said “He was VERY talkative. But in a friendly and kind way.” Miss Butterfly immediately agreed. “Yep, not creepy at all.”

It was a very good day.

Some Band

Last evening, Mr. Ink wanted to go see a band. A band I didn’t know, but he loves and was surprised they’d come to our area. Quite frankly, the entry into my day planner was “some band Mr. Ink likes.” He’d tried to get me quite interested ahead of time, showing me youtube videos and so on. I didn’t think I’d hate the show, but I wasn’t super excited either. Thankfully, I was more than willing to be out, so that helped. The band turned out to be pretty good! Kind of a garage band punk feel to them, and it was very loud. Mr. Ink found them to be way better than he’d even imagined. All in all a good evening out, and I suspect my good mood was in part due to having recently had a little extra time off to be at home.

I believe I promised to show off some corespun yarn I finished during my time off.

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I don’t think corespinning is something I am overly good at, I always seem to get too much twist going on in the core. However, I really love the way it turns out anyhow, and haven’t hated that which I knit out of corespun yarn. I mean, it’s all meant to be a bit nutty right? I do sometimes see people who make super smooth corespuns, and I am not entirely sure how they do that but I suspect they do NOT start with a wild chunky batt and a bunch of dyed wool locks. Which is what I was working with. I ended up with 205 yards of this, and I am considering another one of these scarves:

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This just alternates commercial laceweight rows with corespun rows on big needles. It’s easy, and the results are fun and dramatic. I wear the above scarf so regularly during the winter. It’s also a great way to use up laceweight stash that I’ve completely failed to use over the years even though at one time I was REALLY into knitting lace.

That’s about it from around here. Not much time for spinning last evening due to the show. I got up a little early this morning and put in some time on the singles. I’ve got a tiny handful of fluff left but couldn’t quite find the time to finish it up before work. I’ll quickly finish tonight and get a photo of the two bobbins of singles. Maybe I’ll even get some plying done after a bike ride with Miss Butterfly.