Thursday, May 31, 2012

What a weekend!

I thought a lot about the people who are and have been protecting our country and our freedoms in general and i thought in particular about my father and FIL who served many years ago. Thank you to all of you for helping to preserve our rights and protect our country.

I had a lot of time to think those thoughts as I suffered with migraines all weekend and did little else. I tried. I relaly did. I did gardening in the morning, and laundry, then Bob and I went on the boat Saturday. We had trouble getting the motor started, it was much more windy (causing higher waves) than they predicted and I didn't feel well. I thought it was nausea from sinus drainage and a sinus headache but nothing I took worked. Finally I told Bob that I wasn't happy about being bounced around on the bay the way I was feeling so we went back in. On the way I decided to try my last ditch effort and took my migraine cocktail - compazine, imitrex and percocet. It worked! It makes me miserable for about an hour but it did work.

The next day we did more gardening, laundry and stuff around the house but I already knew I didn't feel well enough to go out. I had another headache and finally gave in and took the strong stuff. It helped, but the headache didn't really go away. Later that night the headache returned, with a vengeance. I was really miserable until about 1 PM when the 3rd dose of meds finally worked. UGH.

I managed to get in some spinning and some knitting between headaches. I completed one bobbin of the wool/silk blend I've been working on. I had carded some of my Black Welsh Mountain (BWM) fleece and I spun 2 short sample skeins of that. I've been spinning some merino that I scoured my self with the support spindle and I'm getting better at it. ; )  I finished the test knit shawl!!! and I just have to block it at this point. I stayed home with yet another migraine today but since it is better I might try to do that in a bit.

I saw a neurologist about my migraines yesterday. He says that since I was unable to tolerate one of the preventative meds and the other didn't do anything, I am not likely to respond to any others because they are all in the same classes of medications as the ones I tried. so, no migraine prevention for me. I have to just treat them with the meds I have. UGH.

My brother was in the hospital over the weekend. he got very dehydrated again and had to get IV fluids. He stayed for a few days and is home again now. He could be doing more to help himself - like giving himself fluids through the feeding tube he has, but he complains that he's too full. He could do better but I think he's just too tired from the chemo and radiation treatments to work at it. On a good note, I was able to get an uncle and another brother to help more with the driving so Steven and Mom don't get so tired and stressed.

I am getting ready for the Tour de Fleece - it's just short of a month away. I have to card more of the BWM so I can spin that during the tour, and I've been gathering and selecting the other fibers I will spindle spin. I am trying to plan out projects for the Ravelympics, too. I think that might consist of finishing one of the sweaters on my needles. Now there's a good goal!

I am off now to finish up a few work things, then maybe block that shawl. It's knit night at the LYS but I'm not sure I'll go. Migraines wear me out, and since knitting is a purely voluntary thing I feel no need to "make" myself go.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


My mother sent some peony bulbs (or roots or whatever) home with me a couple of years ago. They have been thriving. I love the look and the scent of these. 

I am hoping for some white and a darker pink to add in the fall (also from Mom's garden).

I planted carnation plants also a few years ago and they seem very happy this year also.

I planted a ground cover in the front bed a while ago and I was very pleasantly surprised to see that there is also a flower on that in the spring. 

Project spinway is a spinning challenge. The Natchwoolie group on Ravelry runs this challenge and it's fun, sometimes stressful and a great impetus to learn new things. This most recent challenge involved choosing a technique new to you and spinning a yarn with it. The technique didn't have to be especially difficult, just something you hadn't done before. I chose a tornado wrap. I have been reading rave reviews about Jacey Boggs book on spinning art yarn and had asked for a copy for my birthday.

The tornado wrap was so cool to spin!

I needed a few more arms but it was fun. A tornado wrap involves spinning a core yarn while (at the same time) allowing 3 or more other singles or threads to free wrap around the core yarn. I had spindle spun dyed mohair locks

 into singles, allowing them to be a bit textured and I used a thread with sequins to be the third wrap. One of my mohair wraps had long color sections 

while the other had short runs of wild colors.

 I learned that it is best to have the wrap singles coming to the core fiber from several different directions so that they don't wrap around each other, then the core fiber.

I also learned that when one wrap gets in front of the wheel, it wraps around the orifice rather than the core yarn and that's not good. It was so much fun watching this develop!

 I can see potential for lots of color and fiber combinations and lots of fun spinning but I have no idea what to do with the yarn. If I could come up with some good ideas, I'd love to make more of this. It was overspun but after soaking and being thwacked it looks fine.

The second challenge was to choose another new technique and sample at least twice.

 I chose spinning with the support (bowl) spindle that I purchased at MDSW this year.

My practice skeins were pretty bad.

The final skein was much improved, though I still need practice. 
I surprised myself, liking the support spindle spinning much more than I thought. Once the drafting clicked, it was like magic!

I surprised myself, too, actually getting the challenge completed on time (due to the time spent in NY and other stressors).

I spent time Friday doing fiber work. I flicked and carded some black welsh mountain from the fleece I bought last year. I really wanted to comb it because I like smoother yarns. I spoke with Deb Robson at the walk about at MDSW and she reccomended carding, so I decided to do what the expert said and card. maybe I'll finally get over my aversion to woolen style yarns. I hope to get a vest or sweater for rugged outdoor wear from this fiber. It is NOT next to the skin fiber. I plan to card this while my spinning project is to spin more of the wool/silk blend. I think that alternating spinning and prep work should be a good thing. I'll finish the wool/silk blend, have that available for knitting and more on to spinning the BWM. I think my next prep project will be the BFL fleece I bought last year, and I'll work on that while spinning the BWM.  I need to have multiple phases of fiber work going at one time. I am sometimes in the mood for prepping and other times in the mood for spinning or knitting. having a plan and having ongoing work in each phase will allow me to make progress, prevent side trips and still have variety.

I scoured some of my Romeldale x fleece today ( it had been cold soaked a couple of weeks ago) and cold soaked another section. I really enjoy that whole process and that's a surprise to me, too. I also washed the Kerry hill x border Leicester locks that Melanie and I shared from  MDSW. It has a soft, wide crimp, nice long staple length and some nice luster. I hope to get more scouring done on Sunday. Tomorrow we plan to go out on the boat.

My brother has had a set back with his cancer treatment/nutrition situation and had to be admitted to the hospital again. He'll be out tomorrow I think and maybe this time he'll listen to his big sister when she tells him to take water in. He got seriously dehydrated. We also have additional transportation lined up for him since that has been a problem from the start. Halfway there!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Clear skies, warm temperatures

The weather in NY is wonderful. It's warm but not hot, a breeze to cool you off if you are working and wonderfully sunny. The outlook here is sunny, too. My brother is tolerating his treatments well except for loosing too much weight. He now has a feeding tube and is tolerating the feeding well, so should start to put the weight back and get some energy soon.

Mom and I had a sleep in this morning, and great time at the beach (not in the water but along the boardwalk) and a yummy dinner. DH is in Montauk, had no luck fishing but had a good time anyway. He'll come back tomorrow, we'll move my brother's camper for him and then head home to MD. We get to borrow the camper in September for vacation, saving many dollars. BIG grin!

I have been spinning on my spindles and knitting while waiting, so I have gotten my fiber time in.

Have a great Sunday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Falling behind again

Well, I have been work and fiber busy, and heading up to NY this weekend to spend some time with Mom and with my brother, who is battling throat cancer. So, to try to get caught up:

I have been spinning this wonderful wool/silk blend that I purchased at MDSW a few years ago. I like it so much that I brought some with me on Sunday of the festival and bought more of the same thing.

 I just love how it looks spun and hope I will like it as much knitted. I think I have enough fiber now to spin a DK weight yarn for at least a vest, if not a sweater. It is a joy to spin.

 This is my second Lovers Lane hat, designed by Melanie. I test knit the first one (sort of a rusty orange color) and decided to make another using some leftover yarn from a sweater I made.  I love the color and the hat fits better because I knitted the band with a smaller needle than the first one. I hope to get better pictures posted. The hat is blocked, now and I think I can get eldest son to take some modeled photos.

 This is Bob's sweater that I am designing on the fly. ; )  I am knitting it in the round to the arms, then plan to separate for the sleeves. I don't know yet whether the sleeves will be textured also. I think they will, but I might just go with stockinette. I hope to get this one finished for fall vacation, but might still be knitting on it when we leave. giggle. It does make good boat knitting, though, so it's possible it will be finished on time.

 This is some scoured merino fiber that I bought a while ago. I have been playing with all kinds of less common breeds and had not yet done anything with raw merino, so I got 10 oz. It's very hard to get the grease out. I think I will leave that to the pros in the future. It's so soft, though, and wonderful to spin slightly greasy.

 This is a bit of the Romeldale fleece I bought at MDSW. I have washed only the worst of the dirty parts so far because I want to see what it will take to get it clean and be sure I don't felt it. So far, so good and I love it flicked. It's a joy to spin and I bought 7 lbs, so I hope to have a sweaters worth of yarn when I am done.

 These cute little sheep stitch markers were given to me for my birthday. Aren't they cute?!

 They fit very nicely in this notions bag that I was also given as a birthday gift from several friends. I had admired it and planned to ask my mother to buy it for me as part of my gift. Patty heard me and got together with others to buy it for me. So very nice!

 Here is another of my MDSW purchases. I have wondered about spinning supported and wanted to buy a support spindle for a few years but chickened out and went with something I felt more familiar with. This year the price was right and so was my attitude. It's lovely, spins well and I have tried it out on a few different fibers. I need practice, but I'll get there. I found it an enjoyable way to spin.

 Here is one mini skein I made with it with my Romeldale fiber.

 I got creative with dyes last week. I needed some locks to spin up for another project and hadn't bought enough dyed mohair locks at MDSW. I found these. I think they might be Teeswater, though they weren't labeled (I am so bad that way, but trying to get better). I used Judith McKenzie McCuin's dyes. The yellow is straight yellow dye and eye searing. The blue/green locks  are two different ratios of blue and green and the rusty color is orange and brown together to tone down the brightness of the straight orange. I plan to spin these in short color sequences to use as a wrap when I try my first art yarn - a tornado wrap.

 This little beauty is my new Bosworth maxi spindle. Zebrawood was used for the whorl - I love good woods! The fiber you see are some of the mohair locks I bought at MDSW for the same spinning project. This blue and some hot pink will also be used for a wrap yarn for the tornado wrap art yarn. Both spindles were given to me for my birthday by my mother. Thanks, Mom.

I have also been knitting on my Swirl sweater, some linen face cloths and the test shawl, which is very near completion and I hope to have pictures soon. I started another pair of SKYP socks, for Bob this time, in STR medium weight in an awesome brick red color and those have become my travel project.

Melanie and I are both knitting the Juneberry shawl . We each had it in our queue and I wanted company and encouragement so I caught up to Melanie and we will "knit along" in June. I am using a chocolate brown alpaca that's been sitting in my stash for a looooog time. I bought it when Stitches was in Baltimore the first time! Knitting from my stash! yeah!

I still hope to get back to the MDSW pictures and add some text but I really have been busy. I need relaxation in the evening, so I tend to pick up knitting or spinning rather than sit at the computer, which I do a good part of everyday for work. I'll get to it, though, and let you know when I do.

Have a great week.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Walkabout part 2

I have a special treat for you. this little lamb was so excited, he couldn't stand still. Enjoy. 

 Kerry Hill lambs