Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Busy Tuesday........"

Yesterday was a fairly busy day for me.....I've always have busy days, but this one involved going other places. :)

While home in the morning, I plied some yarn singles that I had spun on Monday. From the 2 previous bobbins of plied yarn, I have 156 yards of yarn, so when these 3 others are skeined up, I should have close to 400 yards total. My original goal when beginning spinning, was to spin yarn thin enough for sock yarn. I have come close enough to achieving that, so this time, I wanted to try and spin a heavier yarn, which this is. I'm not sure what I will use this yarn for, but am planning on dyeing it and possibly using it for a felted piece.

As I left the house before noon, I had a few errands to run before going to Cindy's, a co-worker of Don's. I have been a member of Ravelry for awhile, but was having trouble navigating the site. Cindy is also a member and uses it quite a bit, so I had asked her to go through it with me. I feel like a dunce now, as it is pretty simple. I don't know what was confusing me, but hopefully, I am now past that. :)

Cindy and Steve had a wood burning stove installed not long ago and I wanted to take a photo of it to show Don. So why not show you as well, eh? Even though it isn't one of the biggest stove available, it packs a heated punch! The house was warm and cozy, bringing back fond memories of my heating the cabin with first a wood burning fireplace insert, and then a pellet stove insert.

My next stop was the new Sequoya Branch Library that opened in its new location not long ago. It was my first visit there, so having the camera, a few photos were taken. Not all of the libraries "stock" is available (they're busily unpacking more each day), but the facility is beautiful and I am happy to have it back and open. I even "requested" 5 books while there, all due back at different times, so have those to look forward to as well.

My last stop prior to going home, was to pick up Rosa from school, as I did last Tuesday. This photo is when she walked out at the end of class, before going to her locker. She'd knitted another row on her beginning piece of knitting, but yesterday, she wanted to draw instead of knit more. She has her own drawing pad of paper, but I got out my box of 50 colored pencils and she went to town. ;)

A bit of humor......Becky had remembered in the morning that I was picking up Rosa, but had forgotten she was at our house by the time she left work. When she walked into the classroom at school to pick up Rosa, the teachers all panicked when they saw her! Obviously all was fine, but Becky felt silly, since she'd brought Rosa's car seat into school in the morning, but had just forgotten that with her busy day and it being a break in habit. As Charlie would say...."It's all good". We, of course, had a nice time, with Rosa drawing while I made fudge to take for Thanksgiving, and later, getting to finish the DVD of Simba's Pride that we'd started last week. :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Some Knitting Stuff......"

I had knitted "wrist warmers" for Tracie and Bridgett. Evie saw them, fell in love with them, and kept putting theirs on even though they were too big for her. On their way to the park the other day, they stopped by to say hi, at least "That" was the reason she told Tracie and Bridgett. ;) I don't think she even got the word "hi" out, before she asked me to make her a pair of wrist warmers. It was tooooo FUNNY!

I found a wrist warmer "pattern generator" online, which will create a pattern when given specific data. I was able to use the smallest numbers available on it and get a child size wrist warmer pattern. They are easy and a quick knit, so Evie had her pair the next morning. Here she is with the little package to unwrap.

YES! Success.....I have my own pair!!!!! And purple, too!!!! :) Copper looks on, wishing it were food so easily attainable.

Tracie, Bridgett, and Evie, spent last weekend with Bridgett's family, celebrating Thanksgiving early. According to Tracie, Evie wore her wrist warmers all weekend, or when they finally got them off of her, she told everyone about them, again and again. It is nice to have such a big fan of my work. :)

I also knitted a hooded jacket to give to Andy and Angela, for Benjamin's baptism gift. I love the knitting part, but "finishing" is not a favorite thing of mine. Perseverance is the key. :(

Here is the finished jacket. It is much too large for Benjamin to wear now, but should fit him next fall.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"The Wools/Colors....."

I went back to visit Jacqui at Dumgoyne Farm again last Wednesday, and took along my spinning wheel. Jacqui spins, but was not happy with the yarn she was was too bulky in her opinion, and she wanted to learn how to spin "thinner". We spun together, with me showing her how I did it..........there isn't necessarily only one way of doing it, and she was able to spin a thinner yarn single. As with anything, the more practice, the easier it will become.

These are our 2 wheels, set up in the sun. Mine, a Kromski Minstrel, and hers, an Ashford Kiwi.

I also took some photos of some of the wool she has dyed. There are a few carded batts on the right side/middle shelf, but she mainly has bags of dyed wool that will need to be carded before spinning. The carder is shown in another photo.

More dyed wool, plus some of the dyes she uses.

Jacqui is opening the bags of dyed wool, so that when I take a photo, the colors will show more easily. The drum carder is in the foreground. Simply told, the wool is fed by way of the metal platform in the front until the little drum grabs it, which takes it to the big drum, spreading it thin, and aligning the wool fibers together in one direction, forming a batt.

More dyed wool......

And more.......

And yet more........

I thought I'd snap a photo of the lunch Jacqui whipped up for us because it was so colorful and festive.....AND flavorful, too!!! :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

"I Forgot!!!!!"

Don and I went out for coffee at Ancora's on Monroe Street yesterday. It is a Thursday "thing" for us to do, as the weekly paper, the Isthmus, comes out on Thursday, which we want "hot off the press!". :) Sheila surprised us by showing up to visit, knowing we'd be there.

I asked Don to show Sheila the photo of him with Georgie, the kissing llama, from our Dumgoyne Farm visit. He said it wasn't on my blog! For some reason, I'd forgotten to finish up the farm visit photos and had moved onto to another topic the following day after starting the farm blog!

So, I am going to rectify this today and finish the earlier farm visit photos.

Here I am with Jacqui and her great Pyrenees dog, Clara.

As I said, Georgie is a "kissing" llama. He comes right up and puts his face in your face. He is definitely NOT shy! ;)

Here is Jacqui's other llama with Clara by his side. Clara gets along with everyone at the farm. I don't remember this llamas name, but he has quite the lions mane, eh?

Georgie had to greet Don, too! I think he liked Don better, as he seemed to "want" more from Don. LOL

Here are some of the sheep of Dumgoyne Farm. Today I'm showing "fleece on the hoof". Next week, I'll show you it shorn, washed, some dyed, but all in bags. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Teaching Knitting....."

I picked up Rosa from school on Tuesday. She was coming over so that I could teach her to knit. This is the look "after" learning and laboring over 1 row of 20 stitches. LOL Actually, she was watching the DVD Lion King when Don took this photo. I was surprised at how easily she learned to knit. She took the beginning piece home and I will again pick her up this coming Tuesday after school, to see how she is coming along. Becky, her Mom, is pretty sure she remembers enough of knitting to help Rosa if need be.

Here is Becky checking out the sock basket. I seem to be showing that off quite a bit, don't I? ;)

Another photo at Don's urgings. That man is a kid at heart! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Neighborhood "Stuff"......"

Finally, after being on "back order" for months, we received new water pumps for the Aero Garden. Don ordered 1 to use right away, and the other for "stock". :)

I planted herbs this time and they are already sprouting. The little plastic domes will come off in a few days. The large plant to the left, in the green plastic pot, is actually 1 of the original cherry tomato plants from the 1st planting of the Aero Garden last Christmas. After taking the somewhat "spent" tomato plants out of the Aero garden to replant it with lettuce, I decided to try to plant the tomatoes in soil and see if they would continue to grow. Only 1 of the 3 did, living in the shaded greenhouse all summer. I brought it into the house awhile back because of the cooler weather. I harvested a few cherry tomatoes for our salad last night. It is no where near as good a crop as it was originally, but I thought it was worth experimenting with them.

The cutting from Don's grandmothers Christmas Cactus continues to thrive under the Aero Gardens light.

The other tall, spindly plant is Basil. It, too, sat outside all summer, not doing too well actually, so I thought I would bring it in when the weather cooled outside, and set it near the Aero Gardens light. It has leafed out very nicely, and I will get to harvest some of its leaves, but I am not sure if it will continue to thrive after I do that. Guess we'll see, eh?

More on the new house construction. The cement was poured in the car port and I "think" the entry areas were poured, too. Both front and back entries have plastic covering those areas, so that is my "assumption", unless the area is ready for cement and just covered to preserve it, waiting to be finished.

I do love all of the glass.......

As you can see in this photo, the new house really isn't that much taller, if any, than the house next door. Molly Bee brought that up in an earlier comment.

Rob, being the good custodian of his home, cleaning out the leaves from his gutters. Don did that job on our house last Sunday.

Cold? What cold? We all bundled up in warm clothes and sat out on the deck. Of course, we did have the propane heater on, too. It was quite comfortable. :) Benjamin seemed very content with the whole situation.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Socks, yarn, and Fleece....."

After posting the photo of Barb, with the basket of socks, I got to thinking, I do not remember posting photos of the finished pairs. I will remedy this today. The commercial yarns are the pairs with orange/brown, light blue/brown, and the brighter oranges/dark blue. The rest are all knitted using my hand spun. I had the pairs all set in different places, and when I decided to gather them to store in one place , I was sort of amazed that I had so many (happy, but amazed). :)

Here are 2 of the finished skeins of my hand spun. The blue is spun from some 100% Merino Superwash roving that I bought, and the "barber pole stripe" is what I just had completed, using hand dyed wool and nylon rovings. I am anxious to see how it knits up.

Here is a close up view, so you can see the color paths in the barber pole effect easier (especially if you "double click" the photo).

Last Friday, I decided to wash the raw Icelandic fleece that I had bought from Joan, who lives in Maine. I got it almost completed in one day, but had to finish 1 more batch of the fleece on Saturday morning, thus, the "not quite awake look" and the robe.......

The drying fleece. This was taken with a flash which I think, brings out the true colors/warmth of the fleece. I had it drying on a window screen in the basement, and it actually was completely dry by the next morning. I now have to card (comb to arrange the wool fibers in one direction) the washed fleece in order to be able to spin it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"His 1st, now 5th!!!!"

It's hard to believe, but Simon turned 5 this year! Here is the Birthday Boy!

And here he is when he lived across the street from us here in Madison, celebrating his 1st Birthday.

I thought I'd throw this one in, too. :) He used to spend a lot of time on my lap.....until he started walking. Then, his Mom and Dad spent every minute trying to keep up with him. I'm sure things have not changed..... ;)

Friday, November 14, 2008

"A Visit and Updates..........."

After work on Wednesday, Don met Barb for a drink down at the new Bistro on Monroe. She was nice enough to give him a ride home afterwards, and came in for a short visit. She, too, is a fiber person, and does read my blog, so wanted to see first hand what I had been doing.

Here she is with my basket of socks. There are a few pair using commercial yarn, but most were from my hand spun.

Construction continues on the new house down on Cross and Briar Hill. The windows and doors have now been installed. There probably will not be too much work that will be noticeable from now on, except when the exterior siding is attached (not that I know what that will be), due to most work being in the buildings interior.

I find the house to be very interesting and think it very cool. I love all of the much light will be allowed in. The large open area in the wall is covered nightly, so I do not know if it will be a large opening when completed, using a garage door, as in the house plan when the lot was originally for sale, or if it will be solid. Right now, it allows convenient access for the contractors to bring materials or equipment in and out.

Thought I would show an update of the nylon/wool 2 ply as I was plying it. Using the dark wool single, along with the lighter nylon single, created a "barber pole" effect. I think it will create a nice texture when knit up, plus be quite a strong yarn for a pair of socks.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Dumgoyne Farm Visit....."

We met a veterinary professor, Mary, at our neighbor Tracie's graduation party last Spring or early last Summer, who has a friend, Jacqui, that is the owner of Dumgoyne Farm. Her farm animals, many of whom are retired research animals, are her passion. She also sells wool (a local source!!!).....thus her friend Mary's suggestion that we contact her for a farm visit/tour. We did and finally made the trip last Sunday.

What a fantastic place! We spent over 3 hours with Jacqui, seeing all of her animals, both inside the house and outside in the barns, pastures, and woodlot. Unfortunately, we did not take any photos of her inside "friends" (except the dogs who accompanied us on the tour), which include 2 parrots, a number of finches, a parakeet, 2 huge tanks of enormous goldfish, and at least 1 cat......more cats are outside as well.

In the photo below, we are walking through some of her "fenced in" 40 acres to find the Icelandic Sheep. She has a small flock, and as you may remember, I enjoy spinning Icelandic Wool. The sheep are in the distance through the trees. Double click the photo to see them better.

We're in one of the barns with Mocha, her small pony, but she also has 2 horses. Behind Don and Jacqui are the Icelandic rams, who also came in the barn hoping for attention or a treat.

Jacqui and Mocha prior to our entry into the barn, where we saw the numerous types of fowl she has.. Clara Beau is her Great Pyrenees dog.....VERY friendly. :)

The goat barn (no milkers in this group!).

The Icelandic rams.

More to follow......

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Inside gathering......"

Last Friday night, we had an inside gathering at our house. We'd not seen Rob all week, which turned out to be a good thing, due to his having a bad cold. He still sounded pretty bad on Friday, but was on the mend. A little cognac seemed to help...... ;)

Lonny and Charlie also made an appearance. It seems red was the color of the day. :)

Andy was able to stop by for a short time, too......and in his "work clothes". :)

Tracie, Bridgett, and Rob.

It was a nice time.......very different than a "deck gathering". :)