Wednesday, July 18, 2012


It's summer and I've been busy. Mostly good busy, though I've been putting in some extra time at work.

It's still Tour de fleece time and I've been spinning. I had a few goals and while I won't make them all, I'll make good progress towards them. In the Spinner's Study group there were 3 challenges: 1. spin a breed not yet studied in the group. check. I received in a trade some Xalda fiber

 from Spain and spun a skein of that, then passed on the rest of the fiber in another trade to someone else. 2. Spin a longwool. check, though not finished yet. I am spinning some Wensleydale locks that I purchased at MDSW. They are very soft and lustrous, have a nice shine to them and I am enjoying spinning them on my spindle. I am working on the second spindle now and hope to ply them by the end of the tour.

 3. Spin a blend. Check, but again not finished. I am spinning a blend of mohair, wool and angelina in pretty blues. I really don't think I'll get this finished in time. I hurt my shoulder/back and have been having problems with muscle spasms that are irritated by spindle spinning, so my time is limited. For the Support spindle group and natchwoolie I am spinning Yak on my new purple support spindle.

 I love using the spindle and am getting better at it, but this will be a thick and thin skein of probably mostly fingering weight yarn. I was not good at long draw before and while I am learning, I am still not that good at it. My general challenge was to spin as much of my Black Welsh Mountain fleece as I could. I got a bunch of it prepped - a combination of carding and just flicking - and I've spun about 1.75 bobbins worth so far. Unless I get a lot spun this weekend (unlikely due to gardening and boating and housework) I won't have enough to ply by the end of the tour. I feel good, though, that the tour gave me the impetus to get started on it. Now that it's started, I'll push on and get it done. I am anxious to see how much yardage I get so I can start planning a project. I will also feel free to start prepping my BFL fleece for spinning.

Due to my stash volume I wasn't going to buy any more fiber ..... I just received 1 ounce of raw angora fluff and 2 ounces of angora/merino roving for the September study group fibers and I have 4 ounces of horned Dorset fiber on the way. sigh. I really have to stop buying and spin and knit this stuff.

Knitting - I have a couple of FOs to brag about but no photos yet. Maybe this weekend I can get the camera out. I finished a blue cotton sweater that's been on the needles for about 5 years. The ends are woven in, it needs a bath and shaping and it will be wearable. I like it. I designed it myself and while it's not overly intricate, it still looks nice and isn't just garter or stockinette all over.

I made a pair of heavy socks for my brother a while ago for him to wear in his fishing boots. They didn't fit despite him trying them on at the halfway point, so I ripped to the toes and re-knit them. They are finished and delivered. I also made a cowl for him for winter using the stitch pattern from the Wurm hat.

I made a pair of mittens by knitting with unspun silk hankies and they are finished. I love the feel of them. I finished knitting a small shawlette/scarf called Wingspan, too. I like it, though it's a bit smaller than I thought it would be.

On the needles right now, well, what am I not knitting is more to the point. ; )
I started to knit Melanie's Call Me Cordelia shawl with my handspun. I wish I could work on it full time. I think that even though my handspun is thicker than the suggested yarn, it will look fine once blocked.

I am still knitting on my Swirl Sweater. I am at the sleeves but since it is such an unusual construction I have no idea how much more knitting I have to do yet. ; )  Bob's textured sweater is still on the needles. The bulk of the body has been knitted but I have a bit more to knit before I split at the arms for front and back. It's been really too warm to knit on something like that recently. Same thing with the Swirl sweater. They are relegated to in the house in the evening when it cools off knitting. I have a second Wurm hat on the needles that hasn't made any headway at all - I got sidetracked by other things. The Jeweled Cowl is in the same situation, though both are small enough that I might get back to them now, in the worst of the heat. Juneberry is moving along nicely. I am knitting the edging and I've passed the halfway point. I like the edging pattern so I enjoy knitting on that. It's a lap full of alpaca though, so it's also evening in the house knitting.

I have 2 socks on the needles but I have to follow a chart for both so they haven't been getting as much play as they should. One, the Riff sock, is for Rob and is the second of the pair. The other, Crocodile Rock is for Bob and that's just the first of the pair on the needles. I haven't gotten all that far on that one but I think I can get the pattern into my head and follow my knitting without looking at the chart all of the time which will speed things up.

Topiary is sitting untouched because I picked up Juneberry to knit with Melanie so once I complete Juneberry, Topiary will be back in the active roster. I really like it.

Way back, about a year ago, I joined a KAL to knit the Linen Stitch Scarf. I started it, knit on it and hated it. I hated knitting it and I hated the way it looked. I frogged it. I have found the perfect pattern to knit with that yarn, though, and have been working on that as my take along project. It's called the Creekbed scarf. I am using only the two colors I purchased for the other scarf but it looks nice.

It is DHs birthday tomorrow. We have a planned celebration but it's a boat trip and we won't do that overnight trip in this heat, so that's postponed. We will, I think, go on the boat this weekend, though, to Sandy Point and fish the mid-Chesapeake Bay rather that the upper bay, which is where we usually do our boating. I am heading to Boston for a meeting on Friday, no overnight, and I hope to get some good knitting time in on the plane and at the meeting. I don't think I'll try to bring a spindle. ; )

On the family front, Mom is doing pretty well. The heat gets to her and she is slower doing almost everything but hanging in there. My brother is finished with his chemo and radiation therapy, though he didn't complete the full course. He has more energy and feels better in general, but he is still loosing weight and can't afford it. He's gotten the lecture from me about how he's the only one who can provide the nutrition to himself and he needs to do a better job if it. We'll see.

The garden is producing cucumbers like crazy already and I picked corn to eat. We are getting cherry tomatoes and hope to have regular tomatoes soon. We've been getting green beans for a few weeks already and some leaf lettuce, too. I think I'll pull the lettuce now - it's too hot, and the broccoli too. We didn't plant potatoes this year. Last year's harvest was not impressive.

Rob is doing well at his construction job and Brian has moved to pest control from cooking. Kind of weird, right? But it's working for now. It's good that everyone who can work is employed.

Well, I think that's everything. I hope that the few of you who read this blog have not given up on me. I'll try to be better.