Sunday, April 29, 2007

Finishing Touches

Emma got some final touches in at the pond tonight. That's a toy fish we have hung from Mr Bear's fishing pole. Mr Bear was made in Onalaska by someone I went to school with. We've had Mr Bear for several years, but he recently moved from the big pond over to the little pond to try the fishing there. Looks like Catfish are in season!
Click on the photos to enlarge them if you'd like.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Wayne and I worked on the small pond in our back yard. Here it is with waterfall. I'll be smoothing out the dirt around the pond and we'll probably use some beauty bark to keep the weeds down. I'm a big fan of flower planters or pots to add some colors. The darn morning glory takes over so quickly and I seem to be able to keep it out of well filled pots.

Speaking of pots, the dahlias seemed to have survived the winter in their planters. I cleaned out the weeds and found little dahlias trying to grow. So I added some fertilizer and some dog/cat safe slug bait and we will tend these little babies as they grow. They must be hardy, it got very cold this winter. Okay, so we took a break, my dogs were tired! That sun felt so good today.

Lisa Souza sent my order of Cam-Oh! Blue Faced Leicester fiber! It is so soft and lovely, I can't wait to start spinning! I got a pound of it, and I'm thinking of a vest, or perhaps some felted items. I'm just not sure yet. She also sent me some of Brenda Patipa patterns that I had ordered. I got Twist & Lace, and Do the Wave.
I went to Cerritos California this last week for a few days. There was a pond on the corner of the block next to the building where our class was held. One day something caught my eye, and it turned out to be turtles. Here's some photos of that little oasis in the city.

Isn't that fish huge?! There were two of them swimming together in the shallow end of the pool. I think they may have been thinking of laying eggs. The turtles were quite calm until someone pointed at them. Then they scurried back into the water. The duck, well he heard that photos were being taken and he came right up for his photograph.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Fiber News

Right into fiber content! I finished a felted bag this weekend. It's made from singles that I purchased at the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat from Oregon Wool. The button is from Sheila Ernst. I didn't use a pattern, so I cast on 48 stitches on size 11 needles (I used my glass circulars from Sheila and Michael - they rock!) When I started the top flap, I picked up 18 stitches across the back and then I added two stitches every fourth row until I had 24 stitches, then I reduced every other row. This gave the handles room on the sides.

I started another bag right away since I was going for a smaller size bag but I got over zealous with the stitches when I cast on. The other bag is underway and has 28 stitches around. I have another lovely Sheila button and enough of the red and blue singles to get it done.

On other fiber news, Tina and I purchased a CVM (California Varigated Mutant (for non-spinning/sheep readers - this is a sheep)) fleece at the Whidbey Island Weaver's Spin-In. We saw that Superior Fibers from Edmonds, WA was at the Spin-In and we decided to give them a try. Tina and I picked up the processed fleece today and it turned out wonderful! I can't wait to start spinning this soft, creamy, springy roving. I have almost 2 pounds to spin, which could be a nice sweater for someone.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Possum and the Pot and American Idol

Since Wayne linked this blog to the Dutch Oven list he is on, I thought I'd give a little more information on the newest member of the cabinet.

This is a Mario Batali, 6 qt Italian Essentials Pot. Good thing it's first venture in cooking was Italian meat balls and not the Swedish version! I did notice that the weight of the pot and with as slick as it is with the ceramic finish, the pot could slide right off the pulled out rack of the oven. Our rack tips downwards a bit when it's pulled out. So I've warned the family and we'll have to make a point of taking the pot out of the oven when adding items or checking on progress.

Someone asked if that really is opossum in the socks. The answer is yes. It's not the American possum. These are small, and dare I say cute little creatures that have fluffy tails. They are from New Zealand and it's a pest there, but it does have soft fur that is nice in fibers like yarn.

For the American Idol fans - GO BLAKE LEWIS!!! (who is from Bothell WA!!!) Wayne says I can knit you a pair of socks if you win. What size do you wear and send me your address buddy... we're rooting for you!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Seeing Green

The green socks are done and fit well. These were knit from the toe up. I used 2 skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash yarn. The toe up method allowed me to knit the full skein into each sock, so there's more leg and no leftover yarn. Pretty cool method, I'll probably do it again sometime. Missy has recovered from her surgery and is her old self.

I've started knitting some socks for Wayne out of some fiber I got from Jen, and then Sam spun it up for me. I was going to dye it before I knit it, but since I've been slow to dye I'm knitting first. The fiber is Polworth & opossum. I'm knitting these from the top down, and I've got both socks going at the same time. I just thought I'd show you how they've started and hopefully I'll have completed socks to show in a couple weeks.

We found a lovely dutch oven on Amazon. The color is called Pesto, and while I think it is lovely it was $20 less than the other colors. I guess it was just my lucky day. Yes, I was a kid in the 70's. If only I had a Goldenrod colored counter top to go with it!

Here is our first dinner cooked in the new dutch oven. I was going to do a roast and all the potatoes, carrots, etc. But I was reminded that our first dutch oven adventure for the outdoor dutch oven turned out great and was asked to do it again. How could I say no to a compliment like that? The ingredients are layered with corn salsa, Italian meatballs, steak fries, and a little cheese on top. I don't know if you can tell, but the lid has little bumps on the inside to let condensation drip over the food rather than running down the side of the pot. It seemed to work great for this meal.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Wayne and I got to see whales in Puget Sound today. It's a first for me, and it was so exciting. They were blowing water up in the air, and you could see their backs slip along the top of the water from their heads to their tails. They were quite a ways out, so the photo is blurry, but we saw several of them and it was wonderful.

These were taken at the light house near the Mukilteo Ferry dock. It was about 4:00 PM. It made for a very memorable and special day today. That is Whidbey Island in the background.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Apple Trees on Easter

Early this Winter I ordered 5 apple trees from my cousin, Marvin, who had bought a quantity of root stock and had grafted a variety of apples onto that stock. The trees came to us a couple months ago and Dad kindly heeled them into their garden in Onalaska until we could get down there to plant them. This weekend the trees finally found their homes on our own 5 acres. What a nice Easter to be outdoors in the sun with my Mom and Muffin planting trees!
The trees (from farthest to closest) are: Yellow Transparent, Red Gravenstein, Honey Crisp, Gravenstein, and a Chehalis apple tree. I hope the deer don't munch the trees down to nothing. Mom and Dad's trees do okay, but they are a bit closer to their home. If these take off, we will have some lovely apples in a few years. The Red Gravenstein was from some cuttings originally taken from my parents tree years ago.

I did find some eggs today. Mom and Dad sent home about three dozen lovely farm fresh eggs in a cute Easter basket, as well as some lovely pickles and jam. I should have taken a photo of the beautiful eggs. They are light brown, cream, and green colors and there are small Bantee size to huge double yoke eggs. What a treasure. The pickles are from Mom's cucumber patch in the garden with home grown dill and garlic. The jam is from their raspberry plants that produced so heavily last season. The farm is such a special place where you know where the food comes from and the work that it took to grow it.

Coming in from watering the trees I heard some hawks calling. There was a pair soaring over the field. There had been only one earlier, but now there were two. I think they were looking for field mice or rabbits. They stayed pretty low and were just sort of hanging there in the sky over the field.

I have had a lot of fun spinning and knitting this last week. I bought a headband kit when I was at the Whidbey Island Weaver's Spin In. I got the Shetland roving spun and plied on my drop spindle and I knit the headband pattern that came with the kit. I think I'll spin some of the Shetland I have in my stash and make another for a friend of mine. It was fun to do and I know the Shetland I have is very soft and will be excellent for this project. The tulips where some Tina and I bought on the way back from the Spin In when we were in Mt Vernon. They have a big tulip festival every year, but it hasn't started yet. These were some of the first of many that will be coming out of their fields. They have lasted over a week on my table without any additives to their water.

Wayne's socks are coming along. These are toe up socks that Jen and Kim inspired me to knit. The song "The Beat Goes On" is going through my head as I knit only with the word "Beat" being changed to "Feet", well that and a few other lyrics being changed. I just started sock #2 of this pair.

There is news on the Braids sweater. The sleeves were perfect! I don't know how but they ended up right where they should be when my sister tried it on. However, after putting it on we both decided it was a bit short in the body length. It was knit as a cropped sweater and to make it a truly magical sweater I think I'll take the couple extra skeins I have of the Cotton Fleece and see if I can make it longer. This may be a bit tricky since this is knit from the bottom of the sweater up. I'll have to try and see what I can come up with, but I'm sure we can make it happen.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Spin In Weekend

I finished the Beaded Bauble bracelet! It was a fun project, and I will have fun wearing it. Thanks Rosemary!

I also finished the Mombassa socks but I don' t have a photo for you yet. I've been wearing them, and they're in the laundry now. It feels great to get projects finished up and being able to use them.

This weekend there was a Spin In on Whidbey Island. Jen and I drove around to the North end of the island can came down to Oak Harbor. It was a beautiful day. I worked on some Silk Merino fiber from Lisa Souza in the Pacific colorway. It sure spins up nice.

Tina wasn't able to go with us on Saturday. For some reason I woke up this morning and thought, "why not go back today?" I called Tina to see if she was up to going for awhile, and she had been thinking the very same thing. So, we jumped in the car and went over so she could take in the Spin In and the vendors there. Here's a couple of photos of the spin in for you.
I found some fiber from Sarah Anderson called Midnight River that is black and shades of blue. It's is superwash Colonial so it is destine for socks. I also got a pound of Shetland top in a pretty creamy color. A four bobbin lazy kate found it's way home with me. It will work great for my Wooly Winder bobbins since they don't spin well on the lazy kate that came with my Lendrum. Tina and I bought a CVM lamb fleece and are splitting it between us. It's a lovely white fleece that we are having processed into roving. You will see photos of it in a month or so.
We have some great spin in events around the Seattle area. It's always such a joy to meet up with friends at these events. You know who you are, but do you know that you ROCK! ? Well you do. It was great getting to visit with you this weekend.