Extra Hours

You know, I am often looking for extra hours in the day, but I so rarely find them! Yesterday though, someone must have snuck a few extra hours in. In part I am sure I felt this way due to a case of insomnia. I went to bed Friday night at 11, but woke up very early Saturday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. I finally got up, wound some yarn, worked on tibetan clouds, and finally was able to sleep again at 4:30 am. Which was about the time Mr. Ink woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. But apparently we didn’t need that sleep? Because I woke up at 7, and got a wild hare to deep clean the house. Which I did. Except for the bathrooms, those are on the agenda today.

I got started right after breakfast, we had an appointment at 11, so we did that, then back home for more cleaning. After lunch I decided to get started on the laundry. Now, Miss Butterfly had told me that she thought there was something wrong with the dryer, but I told her the problem was that the washer sometimes leaks water back onto the clean and spun clothes, so if she doesn’t pull the clothes immediately, the dryer takes FOREVER. She was like “No. That’s not it.” So, I decided to do a test run with laundry, and she was correct, something was wrong with the dryer.

I called Mr. Ink in, and I suggested that maybe our first step be to see if the exhaust tube was clogged. So, we took that off and cleaned it. This is a chore I’ve wanted to get done for about a year, so I am calling it a big win. Plus, it smelled vaguely of wet dog when we cleaned it, and we haven’t had a dog in 2 years so it REALLY needed to be done. But, that wasn’t the problem. So, Mr. Ink began exploratory surgery on the thing. Thankfully, he doesn’t think it’s terminal, but at 4 pm all the appliance parts places were closed, so he couldn’t go get the part he needs. (Let me just say here what a pleasure it is to live with someone mechanically minded? Oh my goodness, home ownership would be so much more expensive without him!)

So, I hung up the clothing, indoors, and then outdoors on the telephone wire that isn’t used. Unfortunately, the test run of laundry I did was not the one that most needed to be done. Mr. Ink’s work clothing still needed to be washed, so I did another load, and hung those all over the house too.

Now, anyone who has followed my blog for any amount of time knows that I’ve been wanting to rearrange Mr. Ink’s den of slack. I mean, he was so slack in there, that you could no longer walk. There was an extra desk in there that was meant to replace the one he had his computer on, the chair was broken and we bought a new one for him early in the spring, but that has just sat in the basement waiting for the room reorganization. There were plastic bins and boxes full of stuff all over in there, because a certain someone who is not me never bothered to unpack. And to be fair, at one point there wasn’t anywhere to PUT it. But, with the addition of a dresser in there, we did have room, he just didn’t feel like doing the work. Well, I nagged a bit, and when that didn’t work, I tried sweet faces and kind words, and then I even resorted to goofy faces. Which finally did it.

Guys, that room was so dirty! We got the old desk out of there, and then I even made him pull up the rug and turn it around so he could wear down the other side with his dirty shoes and office chair. And I could clean under it. It was a big job, no question. And it’s not done really, there’s still a lot that needs sorting. But, the bins and boxes are gone! The stuff that was meant for donation is gone! And it’s looking pretty good. Want to see?

This is the 360 view. There’s even plenty of open space! He said he wanted to add a large plant in that open space, so I had to remind him that his goofy colorful chair was going there when I eventually get new furniture for the living room. Now that we got that far, I realize I need to reorganize my yarn stash too. I’ve let it slide mostly because if the room is a pit, why bother? Now the room is so much less of a pit!

Meanwhile in all that work? I managed to finish up the singles on bobbin 3 and spin the singles for bobbin 4 of my purple batts!

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Seriously, I couldn’t believe it. So, after dinner I got started on plying. I finally settled on a 2 ply for this one. 10 ounces of 2 ply yarn will be amazing yardage, maybe even to the tun of sweater amounts. And, the yarn is turning out so nice! It’s so rich looking.

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I am hoping for another day with extra hours today, but I am not sure one can get so lucky for 2 days in a row of this! I left the bathroom deep cleaning for today in part because I want to get to the container store to see if I can find a way to make the bathroom more organized in a user friendly manner. The current set up isn’t working for any of us and is just making us all a little frustrated. Seems like between that and general errands, my day should just fly by! And, I don’t even mind because it’s been awhile since I’ve been so inspired to get things done in this manner!

Stalled

I am stalled out on new photos. I mean, about 15 minutes of knitting when I get home will have me through the completion of 4 repeats (out of 8.5) on the second side of tibetan clouds. But, for the most part, it looks just the same as always. I have still been spinning my purple batts, and constantly changing my mind about how to ply them, but they look just like the previous photo of the finished bobbin. Really, I am stalled out.

So, I am going to break from the norm. For Miss Marja’s christmas gift last year, I made her some red batts.

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I can’t remember what all I put in there, but silk, sari silk, bamboo, all of those were certainly included with the red mohair base. Miss Marja has been spinning these up on support spindles over the past few months. Every once in awhile I go over there and see another ball of singles hanging out. I think it was a pretty big batch of fiber, so it’s no surprise it has taken awhile, but she sent me a photo to post here of those singles being plied! (Thank you Miss Marja for fixing my stalled blog!)

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Isn’t that pretty! It looks so nice, especially on that gorgeous wheel!

We’ve been continuing along on our busy week, it’s going just fine despite the busy. We had open house at the school last evening, which basically consisted of me following her around the school while she touched base with teachers old and new. While following, you can imagine me gasping at the size of the boys and the way they would smile at my kid! Seriously. Because the gasping did happen.

We are glad it’s Friday around here. Mr. Ink’s finger is much improved, and he lanced it himself on Wednesday, which was such a relief to him. He’s taking good care of it, wearing nitrile gloves when watering the garden or working in the kitchen, and while it’s still pretty swollen, improvement is seen daily. Nevertheless, we’ve decided to skip the weekend bike ride. It’s just not sounding appealing after a busy day, and not being able to prep for it since Mr. Ink wasn’t sure he’d be able to ride.

In other news, I’ve taken on a project that should provide a little blog interest shortly. I will be doing a Stephen West shawl with a very quick turn around time. This will be the type of project where the knitting must go everywhere with me, so it should see considerable daily progress. So with that in mind, I’ll be taking daily progress photos as soon as the yarn arrives and I get started. We will see just how fast I can knock out a project while also holding down a full time job and a busy life!

The Promised Picture

We had a lovely evening yesterday, despite being a bit sleep deprived. Once home from work, I grabbed a quick nap, and then when Mr. Ink got home we headed to the local botanical gardens and met up with Miss Marja and wonderful Max the dog. We took a walk through the gardens and laughed at Max’s antics. Mr. Ink wandered around seeing all his favorite trees. This was a great distraction for someone who got no sleep the night before and was in more pain last evening than he had been before. It also kept him out of the dirt and wet of the garden, which is what his doctor wants.

Tonight the plan is to go to our first pub trivia with teams we don’t know. We participated in one pub trivia event at a birthday party, which made it a great, low key way to compete. We both loved it, so we are trying again with another couple who play regularly. Again, this is designed in part to keep Mr. Ink out of the dirt and wet. And ideally distracted.

Though to be perfectly honest, I suspect he’s going to need to go back to the doctor. This is day 2 of meds, and it’s only getting worse. We discussed it this morning. He mentioned he’d prefer not to go back, because he’s worried they’ll want to lance it. But if you ask me, if that’s what needs to be done it would be a relief. We’ll have to see what happens.

As a follow up from the sleep over, I told Miss Butterfly no more sleep overs for quite some time because I needed to trust she’d obey my simple directives, and I needed to trust her and her friends to do as I say when they are in my home and I am asleep. She tried to play this off as they accidentally fell asleep in the living room, but I told her that the amount of blankets and pillows in there indicated fully that this was pre planned. She knew she was caught and didn’t even remotely fuss or sigh about it actually. I then asked her to clean up her mess all over the house, which she also did with no fussing or sighing. So, I guess that’s good? Though she’s also aware that she has to be extra special careful after a sleep over because I often think the exhaustion leads to attitude problems that wouldn’t otherwise surface, so I already don’t allow them often.

Despite keeping ourselves busy in the evenings, I’ve managed to rock out about half a repeat on tibetan clouds already. I am shooting for 3 repeats this week, but if I could get more in, that would be amazing. It’s been a strong start.

And now enough of the chatting, here’s the yarn photo.

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That’s a really great purple! It’s very rich. I had originally thought to do this as a cabled yarn. I divided the batts into 4 piles. However, I just don’t have enough in the way of bobbins to do that easily. I may need to invest in another jumbo bobbin or two, another regular size one, and a kate that would accommodate them. I think I’ll wait, could be a good christmas gift. So, this bobbin may not be completely done after all. I will need to add a little more fiber to it in order to make the final yarn a 3 ply instead. In any case, it’s just beautiful and is going to make a very fantastic yarn. The biggest problem really is that it’s messy. The batts are ridiculously messy, and I do end up with fiber all over me when I spin this. So, I am tending to save it for days where I am at home and not leaving the house again. That’s not been the case much since Sunday.

It’s only Tuesday, and feels like a Thursday. We were supposed to be away all weekend on a bike ride, but with Mr. Ink’s finger, I don’t think that’s wise. At least, we are holding off making the decision for now. We’ve learned our lesson in the past, and we didn’t purchase our tickets this time, figuring we’d work that out closer to the event. I am feeling quite grateful for that!

Hope everyone is having a decent week!

Final Impression

455 yards of 2 ply fingering weight yarn.

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So, it’s super pretty. But, do I think the monet spin makes any difference as compared to doing a regular fractal spin from wool top? No. I really don’t. I guess I went into this with super high expectations, but I just don’t think it made a difference other than making one ply less even since I’d screwed up the direction of the locks when blending. But, the caveat still is that I might not know what I am doing. Unless I find out more about this type of spinning, I’ll table it.

Miss Butterfly and I had a lovely day out school shopping. It pretty much took most of the day. Her aunt had given her some money for a “shopping spree” in Boston for her birthday, but she didn’t spend that money. She decided that once home, she’d like to go to the vera bradley outlet and get a bookbag for school this year that is “her” pattern. We, unfortunately, showed up on vera bradley’s birthday, and the line to check out snaked all through the store so much so that we couldn’t even shop. We squeezed through and she found her bookbag in her pattern, and she stood in line while I hit up a few more shops. It was too insane in the store. That being said, because of this extra sale on already sale items, she got that bookbag for a pretty sweet deal.

We then went and did some fun shopping, then went out to lunch, and then we did the final push of school shopping. Once home we got everything organized and packed up to head to open house where we can get her locker set up this week.

I have been thinking that I need to take a photo of Mr. Ink’s almost finish on the old retaining wall project. I grabbed a photo this morning.

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Left to be done are the pavers that run up the side of the driveway, and moving the downspout behind the smoke bush. There are now some decorative grasses growing. The 3 rocks in the middle will have a tree behind them once spring arrives and we can get our hands on it. We’ve also been discussing other plants to put in there. So, we went from this:

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Ugly old retaining wall with too large burning bush roots pushing on it, and lawn on the bank, and a poorly placed mailbox, to a lovely new garden area. The best part? Mr. Ink was also able to repurpose the old retaining wall rocks and the edgers in various ways in the veggie garden project. And truly, look at this gorgeous smoke bush!

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It’s so beautiful and so happy at the top of that garden, and it’ll grow beautifully to allow me some privacy when working in the veggie garden.

Mr. Ink has done such a lovely job with this section, and I am thrilled with it. I can’t believe I called it a pile of rubble awhile back, as it really has come together nicely. And it is such a vast improvement.

I guess that’s about it from around here this morning. It’s another beautiful day, comfortable weather continues and we really couldn’t be soaking it up any more than we already are. I hope that you, too, are having a lovely weekend.

One of Those Weeks

So, the week was busy right from the outset. I managed to be very organized about it and I made sure everything was properly in my planner. But, it’s been one of those weeks where stuff just keeps coming up. Important stuff. Friend stuff. Things that are…emergencies of the social kind. So, I’ve been going going going all week and have invested tons of mental energy into the week.

And I am tired.

But, it’s Friday! And, the weather is pleasant around here. I don’t say that all that often. But, when I arrived at work this morning it was only 60F. Which is amazing.

Last night I sat on the patio for a long while. First to sneak in a bit of spinning, then to listen to a friend who desperately needed an ear. Mr. Ink knew to make himself scarce for awhile, so went on a bike ride. I was secretly slightly jealous.

After I was alone again, I was able to finish up my singles on the monet spin.

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The bottom bobbin is the blended stuff, and the top bobbin is the singles direct from the dyed top. I didn’t even get a chance to ply, because as I was bringing this indoors Mr. Ink got back home from his ride.

I was hungry and exhausted (I’ve had to skip lunch twice this week due to work) and I told him I was feeling sad after my conversation and was going to need dinner, Tom Waits on the stereo, and slow dancing in the living room. It’s good to be able to tell your partner exactly what you need. It’s even better when he can provide that. I am truly fortunate. And also, thank goodness for a weekend!

Impressions Day 2

I quickly finished up the portion of my monet spin that required hand cards, and am on to the part that is spinning straight from the dyed top. I am closing in on halfway through that part.

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For comparison, this is yesterday’s photo of the blended bobbin:

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In part, beyond fuzziness, I am not entirely sure that there’s much difference. Of course, I could just totally be doing this entire project incorrectly as well. We’ll see what we get once it’s plied.

On that color theme, here’s a photo of my current garden obsession, the toad lily that I had Mr. Ink get me this spring.

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These things are so tiny and delicate, and just how I imagined they would be. I love them. These were a stretch, as they like shade and bogginess. We put them in a fairly shaded boggy area, but it does get quite hot and dry here. Apparently they’ve been tended well, as they are doing just fine.

And one more garden photo, my black eyed susans are going crazy right now, and I am thrilled with them. I think next year when they need separating, I’ll just plant them in various areas around the yard. So bright and cheery, so easy!

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Those phlox to the left side too, they are wonderful. So fragrant. I am really pleased with the gardens this year. Much more can and will be done, but it’s been a very good year in the garden!

Impressions

During TdF, while wandering through all my followed blogs, I came across a blog post at A Little More Abstract that described something very intriguing to me. It was a description of a Monet spin. Now, in the blog post it is indicated that the spinning technique is inferred, without the book or article. But, the description was interesting to me, whether it be accurate or not, and I wanted to give it a try.

As my fiber stash is getting dangerously low, and I wasn’t sure I had what I wanted for this particular technique, I chose a couple colors from Dyeabolical’s shop. I actually picked up two colorways I thought would work well with this technique, in case I really liked it.

The first is Sophia, the colorway in today’s post.

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Now, the technique as I understand it is to split the fiber in half, spin one half as is, in top form, and the other half gets blended on hand cards. So, I got this colorway on targhee wool as I figured it would be easy to work with while retaining a nice bounce.

I split the wool top vertically. I then split the “as is” half into 6 strips. I then began blending the other half. My hand card technique is rusty rusty! My rolags aren’t amazing this time, but I don’t think it really matters. The idea is to get a blended color, and I got that.

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It’s certainly far more muted than the original dyed top. I am pretty close to being halfway through the first half, and it’s going well!

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I am quite eager to see how this bobbin looks next to the one spun straight from the top.

I’ve kept this a pretty thin spin, I think in part because I have this feeling I am going to love the technique and want just as much yardage as I can possibly get!

I’ve got a few more vacation photos to share. Now, when we were kids, all the cousins were thick as thieves. Just having an amazing time together. For awhile there, the cousins were having a baby a year, collectively. So, at the reunion we had ages 13-17 represented in second cousins. It took them a bit to warm up to each other but by the final night, they too were thick as thieves.

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I got this quick shot of them all on the hammock, before they ran off and climbed out on the house roof. Just like us cousins would have been likely to do.

We spent some time with my newest nephew, only 5 months old. He’s an extremely happy and content baby. A ton of fun, full of smiles, and very engaging. Not much fussing out of this guy!

And of course my older nephew adored Miss Butterfly and wouldn’t leave her side.

In the first photo, they are “hiding” from Mr. Ink, who was chasing them around the house as some sort of monster. Very cute. I also grabbed a great shot of my brother with his boys which I loved.

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It’s no surprise to me he’s such a good dad, he’s always made a great uncle to Miss Butterfly.

One last shot of Miss Butterfly and Mr. Ink having ice cream at quincy market.

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Mr. Ink’s exclamation: “I THINK I JUST PAID $30 FOR ICE CREAM!” It wasn’t quite that bad, and they needed a snack. I don’t care for ice cream, so I got a homemade lemonade instead, and of course they suddenly thought they should have sips of that too. No.

I think this wraps up my vacation photos finally. Less than a week after we came back, so not too bad!