Sunday, June 27, 2010

The back yard

We moved the clematis from one end of the yard to the other last fall and I thought we would have to wait another season before getting blossoms on the clematis. Apparently it is happy in it's new home.

Mama (or papa - I can't figure out the difference) robin with food for the baby, and one of the three babies poking it's head over the edge of the nest, looking for food. The nest is on the deck support near the downstairs back door, and the adults complain every time we go in or out the door. I don't believe I told them where to put their nest ....

Blueberries. I can't wait!

Potato greens

Green beans


Green bell peppers. We planted a red and a banana pepper plant, too.
Tomato on the vine

One of nine tomato plants.

Hanging basket flowers - I love this combination

Hibiscus. This very afternoon, during a storm that deposited very little rain but apparently strong gusts of wind, this plant was decapitated. The trunk snapped right off at the dirt level. : ((

(These photos were loaded on Sunday and the post was written and posted on Monday.)

I finished plying my Rambouillet last night. I have 172 yds. of 3 ply. : )
The bobbins are empty and waiting for the Tour de fleece project.

The Mata Hari sock is ready for the heel and the Slinky Ribs top needs only about 1/2 inch more stockinette and the ribbing will start. I, however, and going to go knit a few rounds of spiral stole. Have a good Tuesday.

Awesome Saturday

We had such a good day on the boat yesterday. With the temps predicted to be in the mid 90's, I was a little concerned about the heat, but we had a wonderful, relaxing time. We were on the water before 2 PM (we enjoy going out later and staying on the water until sunset) and headed out. We motored south for a while, heading to a place DH had in mind to try fishing. We saw a lot of sails on the water - more than is usual, even for the Chesapeake Bay, which is known for sailing. Further investigation revealed that there was a regatta in progress.

I love the colorful sails, but the white or light ones are beautiful, too. Some of these are catamarans, some are single hull boats. Some sliced through the water, heeling sharply while others moved a little slower, but gracefully. It was fun to watch.

On the way to the fishing spot, I spotted some birds working the water. We tracked them and found an area of water disturbed by the action of a whole lot of small bait fish. That was the first time this season that we spotted such an area. We fished it without luck, but had fun watching the fish darting and jumping to escape what ever it was that was chasing them from below. I forgot to get pictures. : )

We headed further south, fished for a while, catching lots of small perch. By that time, I was feeling the heat and we headed to an area close to shore that we knew had a sandy bottom. We jumped right in - even me (I usually inch in) - and had fun in the water, cooling off and relaxing as well as getting a little exercise swimming. We did a little more fishing, had our picnic meal, relaxed and drifted for a while, and tried more fishing. We spotted another of those areas where the bait fish were churning up the water and caught a whole lot of perch. I think I alone caught about 20 of them!

I had some fun taking pictures of cloud formations. At one point, I thought "Wow! those look like rolags!". What does that say about my mind?

I knitted, spun, ate, fished, took photos (I am so glad that I had the camera along yesterday. Many times I leave it behind), and just enjoyed the day.

Flower, garden and baby bird photos soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Noises and injuries

We have a problem. We have a cat. Actually, we have 2 cats. Both belong to eldest son and came to live with us when he did. DH and I are not cat people. We are dog people, but we’ve come to love these two small members of the household. The problem is the male cat. Isn’t it always the men who cause the problems? ; ) He comes and goes as he pleases, pretty much. Eldest son adopted him a few years ago and he’s always been used to being outdoors, though he spends a lot of time inside with us, too. Due to financial limitations, eldest son has never been able to have him neutered or vaccinated. Actually, I don’t think the cat has even been to the vet. Eldest son doctors his wounds (usually obtained in the course of expressing his superior maleness) himself. This time it didn’t work.

Stan came home the other night with a bleeding paw. We cleaned it and bandaged it and he screeched to get out the door immediately after, so out he went. The next day he came home with two very swollen paws, one so painful that he couldn’t put any weight on it, and with a fever. (Apparently a cat’s normal temperature is about 102 and his was 107 while at the vet) The next day he was no better and looked miserable. I decided that he had to be treated by the vet and got an appointment. Here is where the trouble begins.

Stan may or may not have been vaccinated. He has not been “boosted” for sure, due to $ problems. Since he had been in a fight (the wounds looked that way) and had no verifiable rabies vaccinations, he was reported to the health department and is now on a 6 month quarantine!!!! Can you imagine just how miserable we all are – this cat that spends a good part of his life outside in all kinds of weather is now locked in a cage is a room in the house and cannot go outside for 6 months! I understand the need for safety, but really! Six months? The likelihood of rabies is slim – even the health dept. guy admitted that, yet they over react so. It is very frustrating. Even more frustrating is that DH spent some time (a few hours, actually) a while ago trying to find low cost vaccines and neutering services. Not one of the places he called (including the humane society) mentioned vaccine clinics in the area, which they apparently have. We could have avoided this for $5 if only we had known. If I knew who DH spoke to that didn’t tell him about these clinics, I’d make them live with Stan for 6 months, listening to him screech. I may start drinking regularly. Maybe Stan will have a “nip” every night, too. LOL

I am living in stockinette land these days. Slinky Ribs knitting consists of stockinette in the round, the V neck cardigan is stockinette knitted back and forth. I finished the travel socks that were knitted from the sock blank!! and have started some Mata Hari socks (stockinette in the rounds except where you do a few yo, k2tog for a swirl around the leg.

The socks that I started the weekend we went out with our friends to Harve de Grace is also stockinette. I love the colors of this yarn. : ))

I have yet to pick up any lace and spinning times have been few and far between. It’s the time of year to spend time outside, and it’s certainly been too hot to knit or spin outside. I’ve also been trying to spend time with DH, actually doing things with him, not just being near him doing my own thing (though that has it’s benefits, too).

Here's the status of the spinning: Remaining Rambouillet fiber (out of 4 ounces)Spun Rambouillet fiber, waiting to be plied.

Wensleydale Perfect Storm on the spindle. Gotta get going on this one, but probably not tomorrow. It's supposed to be in the mid-ninety degrees again and we plan boating. That means no AC and that means no wool wrapped around my arm. ; ) It is pretty, though.

This weekend’s schedule includes gardening and yard work on Friday evening (ETA spent two hours weeding) and Sunday, with boating on Saturday (weather permitting). Laundry, some house cleaning and fibery pursuits will be fit in somewhere.

DH ate the first home grown green beans the other day. Not impressive, actually. They were kind of tough and stringy. We’ll see how that goes. I don’t remember having that problem in previous years. I see baby tomatoes on the vine and will probably pick a cuke this weekend. Lots of weeding required, though. It’s tough the first year of a new garden site – the grass that was there keeps trying to grow back. The actual weeds are not bad. I am going to try a layer of either weed cloth or newspapers with straw over it to see if we can keep the weeding minimized. First, though, I have to move the soaker hoses (again). We need a more even distribution of water. With our temperatures in the high 90’s to 100 degrees yesterday, we’ve been watering every day. Using the straw should help keep the water in, too.

Have a great weekend, all. Think of me with pity when you go to bed in your quiet house each night. : ((

Monday, June 21, 2010

Things were getting better .....

It was hot over the weekend. We went out on the boat on Saturday but I wasn’t interested in getting there until mid-afternoon due to the heat. We made a couple of stops on the way to pick up boating things we needed and arrived at the marina just about 4:00. It was quite windy – more so than the forecast indicated, but we persevered and I am glad. It turned out to be a beautiful evening on the water.

Things haven’t exactly been going well for us recently, though I had thought that we had fulfilled our “requirement “for bad things all in a 3 week period. We/I had a close call on the boat on Saturday just as we were closing things up to leave for home. I *never* open the hatch in the deck until I am ready to leave the boat. It’s an invitation for clumsy me to fall in. It’s my rule. I broke it Saturday night and did indeed fall. I don’t think 45 seconds had passed from when I opened the hatch to the time I fell into it – you would think that an adult would be able to remember something for at least a minute, wouldn’t you? Not me.

I stepped into the hole, tried to save myself, twisted my body around and fell anyway - with my foot in the hatch, jammed up against something. It was pretty dark and I really couldn’t/didn’t want to see. I calmly waited until DH was near and asked him to “come help me with something.” I told him what I had done, and, to his credit, he didn’t ask me why I opened the hatch early. He could see less than I could, and went by feel trying to figure out what was what. It wasn’t that I was in excruciating pain – I had some pain but it wasn’t bad. I was afraid of what would happen once I moved. We were able to move me and my leg and foot around and release it, and - miracle – nothing was broken! Today I broke a tooth. My #**# dental insurance doesn’t pay much for caps, and there’s not much tooth left. This is going to be expensive.

On the knitting front, Slinky Ribs is at the boring stockinette part. Too bad it’s not football season. This would make great football knitting. Since it is not football season, I listen to audio books.

The V neck cardigan is not growing because I want to finish Slinky Ribs first. I think I have a better chance of wearing Slinky Ribs in the summer than the V neck cardigan made with 80% wool.

I think I might be getting ready to resume lacier knitting. I plan to pick up the spiral stole again this week (assuming no additional crises) . Once the Spiral Stole is done, I will pick up the Circular Shawl from Victorian Lace Today (already frogged and ready to be re-knitted) or Laminaria , which still needs to be frogged. I am not looking forward to that process ..... but the worst that can happen is that I have to start again. I liked knitting it, so that really shouldn’t be that bad, right?

Spinning of the Rambouillet fiber is almost complete. I think 15 minutes tonight will wrap it up and then it’s time for chain plying. The Perfect Storm Wensleydale fiber is being spun (sometime a little, sometimes more) almost daily. I was able to contact Amy at Spunky Eclectic and she has agreed to dye more of the same fiber for me in a solid color that coordinates with the original colorway so that I can ply them together. I think it will look great and I plan a shawl with it. No, I don’t have a specific shawl in mind. I’ll have to see the finished product first. At least I am thinking in terms of the finished product while spinning my fiber, now. That’s progress. ; )

I'll try to get photos of all of my projects some time this week. Have a good one.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday is not my day of rest

So far today I have cleaned the bathroom, washed 4 loads of laundry and hung all of them on the line to dry, helped DH to empty the old oil out of the (bottom half of the) boat motor*, cleaned the water filter and done some wheel and spindle spinning. It is not quite 1:30 PM.

The best part was ..... you guessed it - the spinning. ; )

On the wheel I am spinning the end of a 4 oz. braid of Rambouillet in the color way Wood Violet. I may be able to finish spinning that today. On the spindle I am spinning Wensleydale in the perfect Storm colorway. It is amazing how different the two wools are from each other and yet they are both enjoyable to spin. The Wensleydale is so smooth that it almost feels slick. The staple length is much longer than the other fiber so it take more thought on my part (I am used to shorter staple lengths, apparently) but that's kid of fun, too. It's a change of pace. The Rambouillet is softer, fluffier (I suppose I should say more loft or something like that) and shorter staple length - more like what I am used to spinning.

I think I've given up on my cabled with black merino idea for the Wensleydale - the fibers are too disparate. I will try that technique on some other fiber I own. (there's no lack of fiber in my stash) I am going to search the web to see if I can find someone who will dye some Wensleydale for me in one of the colors included in the Perfect Storm colorway. I will spin that and ply it with the original fiber so that I can have enough yarn to make a small shawl.

I've been ignoring my spiral stole in favor of my other two sweaters. Both sweaters are easier knitting than the stole and I just haven't been able to handle lace this week. Sometimes lace helps - I have to concentrate on it enough that other problems go out of my head. That hasn't worked this week and I am not interested in creating a disaster. So, simpler knitting is happening. Stockinette (back and forth, not in the round) with occasional decreases (for the V neck cardigan) and ribbing in the round (for Slinky Ribs) has been happening.

I did cast on yesterday. Our friends Steve and Cheryl were meeting us for a day of touristy things in Harve de Grace. My son had borrowed my car for work and my travel socks were in there. I had to have a small take along project, had nothing around that would fit the bill and cast on for a sock. I am testing the square DPNs I picked up recently with a ball of Zauberball in purples and magenta. I like knitting with it, but I did have a problem with it. I had to knit from the outside of the ball (couldn't find the other end) and when a "clump" comes off at once, it gets twisted around itself. If you don't untwist carefully and right away, the fuzz on the yarn makes untwisting it a little more difficult than it should be (IMHO). I think I am going to love the colors of this sock, but since I have my car and my knitting back, I'll just finish up those other socks (the ones I am knitting from the self dyed sock blank) first. I have put the new little project bag away and it will stay there until it is needed again. The toe is knitted and I am about 2 inches up the foot, BTW. The needles - nice to knit with but I bought the short length and they are not as comfortable as longer needles would be in my hands. The tip opposite the knitting irritates the palm of my hand.

We weren't out as long as I thought because of the heat and humidity. It was about 90 degrees and 90 % humidity yesterday. We did manage to visit the Concord Point Lighthouse and keepers house and we walked around the marina and daydreamed about owning some of the larger boats there. We had a little snack that we picked up at Bomboy's candy - chocolate covered strawberries! Yum! We got back onto the air conditioned car, drove around town for a while, looking at the older house and then headed back to our house. We relaxed on our deck for a while (where I knitted on my V neck cardigan) and drank lots of water to catch up on our fluids, then headed out to eat dinner. All in all it was a nice day.

* It's only the bottom half of the motor because when we tried to use the boat on Tuesday, the motor over heated and we had to take it apart to replace the water pump. We don't know that the water pump is the problem, mind you, but apparently that's how you do things on boat motors. You replace the least expensive part of what you think might be the problem and hope. If not successful, you move on to the next most expensive thing. And so on. Lovely. I had really been looking forward to that little break - dinner on the water with DH. I am becoming quite adept at reading and interpreting the service manual (not always easy - they include little phrases like "on most models" or "some steps listed here may not apply to your motor" ) for the motor and even better at taking dirty and greasy things apart and putting them together again. Is that good or bad, I wonder?

I am going to wait until the sun is a little lower (and allows the house to provide some shade) and go into the garden to do some weeding. Meanwhile I will wash more clothes and spin. Have a good day.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Spin City in Bel Air

I've been spinning like crazy lately and have actual yarn to show for it! On the left is the three ply (about 150 yards) I made with the Targhee I've been spinning, and on the right is the two ply (about 50 yards) I made with the remaining singles once one bobbin was empty. The 3 ply is a little over-twisted - I'll have to work on that. It's soft and lofty and wonderful to touch.

I also plied up and washed some blue yarn that I finished spinning a few weeks ago. I don't know what kind of wool it is, but it's about 240 yards of a two ply.

On my wheel I am currently spinning the Rambouillet that I started last week - I have just under half of it spun, I think.

I am still spinning the llama top on my small spindles (almost finished) and have plied the silver grey yarn I dyed last summer. It's a 3 ply but has not yet been washed, so no photos yet. I had intended to spin it into a lace weight but the color wasn't what I expected. It will be used as an accent for something ....

The next thing for the spindle is some Wensleydale from the Spunky Eclectic fiber club. The color is Perfect Storm and fits into the challenge for the Spindlers group on Ravelry - the theme is "elements" and I think the Perfect Storm fits into the elements category very well. This fiber is so different from what I have just finished spinning and plying and also from what is on my wheel. It has a long staple length and smooth, heavy hand, feels very lustrous. I tried to plan out what I would do with it - there's not much elasticity and it's a little coarse for against the skin. I thought that I might make a cabled yarn (another new thing I learned from Maggie Casey) , plying each singles of the Wendsleydale with a ply of black merino and then cabling them. It should look great, but I don't know if that combo of breed fibers will work. I have posted questions on Ravelry for more info. The fibers may be too different to be plied together. As you can see, I've just started spinning this fiber.

I've joined the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry. I have already been spinning almost every day, so "training" is already in progress. LOL. Anything that keeps me spinning is good.

I've been knitting, too. The Slinky Ribs is knitted from the middle of the body up, over the back and shoulders and down the front to the mid-point. I have completed the upper back, shoulders and most of the front. I am almost ready to join the front and back and knit in the round for the lower body.

The V neck Cardigan is moving along, too. I put it on waste yarn to be sure that the fit was right, and it feels right. That's a good sign. I have not yet put the arms on holders but should be there soon.

The garden is growing (so are the weeds) and I try to get out there to weed every couple of days. It was so wet yesterday after our rain the day before that I couldn't get far. At least we didn't have to water ...