Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Nuts sleep with these chickens

You'd have to be a nut to sleep with these birds. That's because these chickens sleep in the trees!
There is a Sesame Street song about chickens in the trees. If you know the song, there is a line in the song that goes, "won't you tell me please if there are chickens in the trees?" Well the answer is, yes.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Family Farm

Tina and I went shopping and visiting this weekend.

We had a wonderful time shopping in Fife at Morning Sun factory outlet, and in Lacy (Olympia) at Shipwreck Beads. Then we got a bite of lunch and headed to my parents to visit and see what was happening around my ol' stomping grounds. I am feeling badly because I can't remember this cow's name. She's a descendant of Buttercup, who had Annie, and I believe this is Annie's daughter... but I can't remember her name tonight. Stacy - can you help me out here!? Anyway, this cow is on the family farm, and she's responsible for some wonderful cheeses and butter. I gave her a corn stalk and a apple which she seemed to appreciate greatly. Isn't she a beautiful cow? I love Jersey cows. We also got to raid the gardens on the farm and scored some wonderful corn, onions, beans, beets, pears, parsley, carrots, spaghetti squash, zucchini, cucumbers, turnips, apples, and pumpkins. Mom sent us home with eggs from the chickens too!

I got a photo of Tina inside Shipwreck Bead store. It's a huge place, and even this photo doesn't do it justice. I went a little crazy at Shipwreck Beads. They were having a sale, and wow I "saved" a lot on things I didn't go in there thinking I'd need. It all started with the magnet beads. I've bought magnetic necklaces at the fair two years in a row because I really like them. Well I found the magnetic beads and I thought I'd really save some money this year and make my own. Hahaha - well a basket full of beads later - I'd have saved money if I bought my necklace again at the fair. Then again, I wouldn't have these new creations that I made today.

This is a necklace I made out of coral fish shaped beads, lace agate stone beads, and a variety of natural small round beads. The necklace is on a Romney hide that I have, and it's really a dark wool but it's so shiny it looks silver in the photo. I found a small chunk of coral as well that I will be making into something. It is so smooth and bright - it needs to be added to something special.

This other necklace is a lanyard that you use to carry your office badge around with. It's got small glass beads that look like butterflies on it and some crystal silver lined beads. It is always nice to have different lanyards to wear from time to time. They get sort of boring otherwise. I haven't made my magnetic necklace yet. I'll let you see when it's done though :-)

While I was off playing, Wayne was home giving the fence a much needed oil finishing. It looks wonderful - he did a super job. We're still working on the pond project as well. We know the pump is working (tested it out) and the small fabricated liner pond is leak free, so we just have to level out the area and get the thing fired up. It's going to require a shovel and a wheel barrow though, so it may be a week or two before she's up and running.

Wingnut is coming along nicely. She's all dry and I'm setting her aside until I get through some of my other projects now. It's going to be a full week at work this week and actually the next week too. Hopefully I'll have some time to work on the DFS and some spinning for Wayne's sweater!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Fair Friday!

I had such a wonderful time today. I went to the fair and spun in the spinning area to demonstrate the process tonight. It's great fun to show others how it's done, and to answer questions. Kids have the greatest questions. I had one little girl ask if I had a break yet. I was puzzled by this, and she went on to clarify, "have you gone on any rides yet!?" LOL! I do believe I may have picked up the new craft bug. I came home and told Wayne what I learned from a hooker tonight- how to make a locker hook rug that is :-) Now I want to be a hooker too! Check out her work - these rugs are so soft! They make great horse blankets as well. The lady who makes these has used them for horse blankets for years. She said they work great and she actually has a horse that prefers this blanket to a fancy purchased blanket she's got. I may just have to give this craft a whirl. I've got the fleece, now all I need is some carpet mesh and a hook with a eye for yarn and I'm set.

So, my sweater got a second place ribbon, and so did a skein of Romney I put into the fair. I'm please with the placing, and I have to show you the first place sweater too because it is awesome. Of course I think "mine" is better - but that's because it's mine and it's knit for me. Anyway - it gives me room for improvement and I know I will enjoy getting there.

I did either remove or smudge last names from these pictures. I know some people want more privacy and other don't really care. That's just my attempt to make it okay for everyone that I put photos up of other's entries.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Shhhh... Fiber is sleeping

I think the extra effort of pulling apart the muddy tips and then re-washing is well worth it. Check out Wingnut now! Oh, dang, I should have taken a before photo of the first washing and how it looked. I've got another two batches of picking and washing to do yet, perhaps you'll get to see it after all. Not tonight though!

Hopefully the wind doesn't pick up tonight or tomorrow, and/or the cat and/or dog doesn't think this is a great mattress for them before I get home from work tomorrow. Actually I have jury duty tomorrow but I suspect I'll be back to work by noon - at least I'm hoping that's the case! They never seem to like me for a jury since I worked for a lawyer for my first job as a receptionist. I called and found out I can't take knitting needles, but I can take a crochet hook! So, it will be a good chance to work on that purse I started over a year ago. Heh - forgot to put that on the list, didn't I?! LOL!

By the way - the fleece does feel as fluffy and soft as it looks ;-) Still trying to find out what varity of sheep she is.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Going Great

The shock has worn off about adding more to the wool stash in such a big way. I am very happy that I got this fleece. It is lovely. I came home from work and errands and started going though Wingnut to see how she was doing. She's doing awesome. She's going to be white and sparkley, but she's going to take some more washing. I didn't get enough of the grease out to suit me. I spent some time on the deck opening up her more stubborn tips. The muddy ends will clean up nicely in another bath. I think I'll go with some Dawn or Joy to see if it will take the grease out better for me. I love the smell of the Kookaburra Woolwash and it's done pretty good, but not quite where I want the fiber to be for spinning.
In the mean while, I've been spinning superwash grey fiber for Wayne's sweater. I got my Salmon Run pattern from the Needle Beetle, hooray! However it won't get started for some time yet. I also received a pattern I ordered from Sivia Harding. I got the Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl pattern and I'm really excited about knitting it. However it's going to have to be added to the list of want to knit projects.

First I want to get Wingnut washed and dried - then she can wait until I'm ready to move on with her. Meanwhile I am working on the DFS, I'm into the 5th repeat. I'm working on spinning the fiber for Wayne's sweater. I'd say I've spun 2 pounds of the 6 pounds I have to spin. I won't need all 6 pounds spun, but I might as well get it all done up and ready to rumble.

Hmmm, I notice I never moved from First to Second on my list of to do's. That's the A.D.D. in me. I want to do it all at the same time. Oh yeah, I'm still knitting on the Gathered Garter Stitch Shawl as well right now. Sure would be nice to have Wayne's sweater done for Christmas, I guess I'd better get moving and focus on one project at a time! So, here goes the lineup: DFS is first, DH sweater second, GGSS is third. Wingnut needs to be clean to prevent attracting moths... she's taking precidence for a little while.

Speaking of Wingnut, I took a break and went out and dunked the fiber that I had opened up the tips, into another bath. This time with some Joy. This looks much more like what I'm wanting. The tub was dirty with the muddy tips coming clean. I did my chores and came back and drained the water and did a rinse on the fleece. It is MUCH better. She'll go out to dry tomorrow and I'll keep at those tips on the rest of it and wash that as it gets opened up in batches.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Some Fools Never Learn

Fleece. Are you one of those people who's ears perk up at the mere sound of the word? Who start to imagine what type of fleece it is? What color, the crimp, is it full of VM or is it pretty much free of hay and other "stuff". Do you wonder if it's long or short, double coated or single? Do you wonder if there "might" be something you can't resist available for sale, and you know you have lots of fiber to last you for months, yet you still go and look? Excuse me, I need to put something in the wash tub.....
Now, what was I saying?? Oh, yeah, ... lets say for instance that you can buy a raffle ticket (for charity) and the prize was a fleece? Well that (it IS for charity) is the icing on the cake now, isn't it? So how many tickets would you buy?
This love of fleece when combined with a love (dare I say passion?) for prepared, colored to perfection, blended, and put in a ready to spin format that certain adored people would give us the opportunity to purchase, leads one to having a LOT of fiber about. *Sigh* I stand before you now and say, "Hi, my name is Barb, and I am a fiber junkie".

My hands feel so soft and smooth right now. Everyone, meet Wingnut. She goes well with this screwball spinner.

On the left top we have Wingnut layed out, looking for felted bits, chunks of VM, second cuts, and other "stuff" that I don't care to spin. This is a very clean fleece as far as hay and other VM goes, but there's lots of lanolin and dust in it. Under that more to the center, Missy is getting her photo taken with Wingnut. She knows she will see more of this wool later. At the bottom in the blue tub we have Wingnut with her second washing - which is more of a rinse. The first washing was with Kookaburra WoolWash. I really like the stuff. Wingnut has got some tips on her wool that need a good soak, so they're going to sit in the water overnight. The heat of the day tomorrow should help them relax too. I'll check it when I come home from work tomorrow. Good thing my wonderful husband, Wayne, gave me a large cabinet for fiber. I did a felting test, she felts. She's very shiny and has fine fibers without tight crimp. I've sent an email to the person "in the know" at Kelsey Creek Farm to see if she can give me the scoop on this sheep. It seems that Wingnut comes to the farm for her haircuts for their Wild and Wooly days events, but she's not a permanent resident there.

I did turn in the sweater to the Monroe Fair (Evergreen State Fair) as well as a few skeins of yarn. We will see how they do. I go in the evening of the 25th to do a spinning demo. I'll check the show hall and see what's going on then.

We did a lot of work outside around our pond this weekend. I'll have to update you on the pond project later this week!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Progress Report

I've been working on the Diamond Fantasy Shawl, though it's been slower than I was hoping for. Work and other happenings have been in the way of my knitting - imagine that!
I'm not knitting tonight because I had a root canal done today, and I'm taking a bit of that pain medication that I almost didn't pick up. You know, when you are numb and feel no pain - you don't think you'll need anything to take the edge off later on? I almost gave into that thought. The doctor was more than willing to do what it took to keep it from hurting - but still said I was a tough one to get the pain gone. We ended up doing progressively different techniques to get the pain down. I've never got a shot in the roof of the mouth before, and he pulled out some shot gizmos that were to use between teeth - I didn't get to see how it worked but it looked weird. Anyway, thankfully, he got it to where it didn't hurt! I think this is the first time I didn't just claw the seat and pray for a quick end to the procedure. So three hours after the surgery I was loosing the numb and feeling the pain. Glad I got a couple pain pills to take the edge off at least for tonight. Doc promised when I go back in a month to get the permanent filling in the crown, that it will be a cake walk compared to today. Whew!
So, here's your reward for hearing about my tooth :-) The shawl.... you probably won't get close ups as it gets bigger - it won't fit in the view finder for long and I'll have to back out :-) Sheila Ernst needles are working perfectly for this project. Double click on the photo and take a closer look at the magic she's done. I am in awe every time I hold them. You have to love Lisa Souza's Olive Tones in Merino Sock! too. Check out how the little bronze bits work into the shawl. You know their links are on my blog - check them out if you haven't already. Yes, we do have fall leaves and bears on our bed sheets LOL! Now you know!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Triple Decker

Well it was a busy day on the deck! I finished plying some Electra Lite, I had a couple small center pull balls of Earth Birth that I plied, and I spun a bobbin of superwash grey top and plied it with the two other bobbins. Whew!

So here's a picture of the yarns in that order. The grey yarn is going to be a sweater for my husband. I know which one it will be now, thanks to Lisa for pointing out a new sweater by the Needle Beetle! It's called Salmon Run Expect to see work in progress on this yarn and eventually the sweater. This is going to be great!

I'm still working on the Diamond Fantasy Shawl. This is a photo taken about four days ago. I'll have to get you another photo soon, it's gotten bigger! In fact this photo only has 4 stitch markers on the shawl. I'm up to six now, which means I've completed a repeated section and I'm working on another since the photo was taken. When it gets wider though, the rows get longer, and it takes me longer to complete a repeated section :-) So if you're knitting up one of these wonderful shawls, the stitch marker count means very little - it's a mental thing.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Weekend Update

Sorry - no images this time, Blogger isn't loading them for me :-( Follow some of the links for some pics!

It was a very busy weekend we just had. Huh? It's Tuesday already! Yes, time flies when you have lots to do. Lets see if I can give you a summary of the events without going on for pages :-)
Friday after work, I went to visit a sick friend. Bubba is his name, and he was feeling poorly for a few days. He's taken his medicine and the vet predicts he will make a good recovery. Bubba is an Eclectus parrot. (He keeps my sister Tina as a pet). After my visit with Bubba, I headed out to the Wool Mill to pickup batts of Romney Lamb fleece. It turned out beautiful and soft. It's a light brown color that I will probably spin as is without dying it. There's enough there for another sweater, so who knows! The trip for the wool was 45 minutes there, and 20 minutes back. It just goes to show how bad traffic is around here, even after 7 at night.

Saturday morning I worked on fixing up my Schacht single treadle spinning wheel, Goldie, to get some shine back on it, and to replace the treadle clips on the treadle. I am going to be selling the wheel and my thoughts are to take it to OFFF and see if I can sell it there. My friend Jen, asked if she could try it out, so I wanted it to be pretty for her. After Jen tries it a few days, it is going to go visit with my other friend, Kim! Kim says she has fiber that wants to be spun and Goldie is looking to spin some fiber. It should be a great match until OFFF. Goldie has been a great wheel for me, but I have found that I really prefer double treadle wheels. Anyway, Goldie and I have had a great relationship and she's done well for me. She spun the yarn that is in my sweater. I know she will be happy for the attention she'll get at Jen and Kim's. She's been sitting like a wall flower in my house since I got my Frickie wheel.

Saturday afternoon I got to go meet my new dentist. We won't drill into that, lets just say that I predict some time in the chair soon. They think they see the root of the problem and are abscessed with drilling to the heart of the issue. Hopefully the balancing of the two pressures - work and ..... well, yeah, the pressures will stay low for awhile so there will be time to take care of all on my schedule. Saturday evening we cooked Salmon on the barbecue for dinner and then I packed my bags and headed to my parents home and spent the night. My husband and son stayed home, so it was a 2 hour drive on my own. I cranked up the radio and got there about 11 at night.

Sunday was a very special day. I gave Stacy the yarn that I had spun and dyed. I put it into balls for her, and it's amazing how the colors look when they are all mixed up in the ball. She was very happy with it, and she showed me some of the baby soakers she has been knitting. She's very talented. I can't wait to see some of it knit up. There was a family picnic over at the river that afternoon. My Mom, my sister Sandy, and I worked in the kitchen putting together fruit salad, cucumber salad, chicken, and coleslaw. There was a nice turn out at the picnic with lots of family I hadn't seen in a long while. As you saw in my earlier post, I broke out the spinning wheel to show Stacy. It was nice to see the kids interest in the wheel, but Rowan stayed and used his hand to help me turn the wheel. We just had to make sure he was on the side where him helping made the wheel turn the right direction :-)

Mom sent home treasures from the garden like fresh onions, zucchini, beets, and turnips. She also sent home fresh freezer jam and raspberries! There were a dozen baby chicks running around with a little banty hen. Little fluff balls that looked like the wind could blow them right over. The drive home was one big traffic jam, but I got home about 9:30.

When I arrived home I found a package waiting for me from my friend Sheila Ernst! I dropped everything and see what she sent. It was a pair of glass circular needles! Just the right size for the shawl I'm working on, and oh so pretty! I've been testing out her glass needles for awhile now, but these were just right for the Diamond Fantasy Shawl by Sivia Harding that I'm knitting. I slipped them right in, replacing the Addi Turbo's I was using. I love the points on these glass needles, they get right in under the stitch with ease. What a great weekend.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

A Spinner in the Making

What a fabulous weekend! Here's a couple pictures of Rowan, my nephew who is a budding young spinner. He absolutely loved my wheel and it was a pleasure to watch him learning how it works. He is so fun.

I will update the blog later this week with happenings from the weekend. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well.


Saturday, August 5, 2006

Port Orford Pullover Finished!

I put the finishing stitches on the Oat Couture, Port Orford Pullover last night. Today has been pretty warm, so I washed and laid out the sweater to dry today, and it is now done!

This is my first large handspun knitted garmet. I am so pleased with how it turned out. The fiber is Blue Faced Leicester that I bought from Lisa Souza. She dyed it in the colorway called Emerald City. I spun it in a three ply yarn, with no special thought to how the colors were plied together. I spun all 2 pounds of fiber up before I started knitting the swatch. I ended up with a good portion of my last skein left over. I thought I was putting 3/4 length sleeves on it, but after washing and laying flat today, it seems the yarn relaxed a bit and I have pretty much normal length sleeves :-) That's okay, I just didn't want sleeves I had to continuously push back. I tend to end up with extra long sleeves. Maybe I learned the secret to getting them just right.

Here's a couple photos. I don't think you will catch me wearing this for a few months yet, but I couldn't resist putting it on to show you. I'm so happy.

Above - The side view
and over here ---------> How big is my love of the Emerald City colorway??? This big!!