Friday, September 26, 2008

A Long Week

It has been a really long week for way too many reasons. And I get the feeling that I really haven’t done much with my time, either. That’s not really the case, it just feels that way.

The September/October issue of Piecework came the other day. I just subscribed recently, in case you think I got it terribly late. Anyway, on page 17, there is a tinted picture of some Norwegian immigrant women knitting, spinning, and carding in the 1890‘s. What really interested me was the red headed girl in the floor. She looks just like my youngest. Her hair lays the same and the nose even looks the same. It isn’t just the red hair. Amazing and weird all at once.

I haven’t gotten my spindle out yet. I did find a couple spindling groups on yahoo and joined to see what I could learn. Instead, I got out my watercolors and started painting again. I’m thinking about trying oil colors, but there is so much stuff you have to have to do oils. Watercolor cleanup is SO easy. The watercolor painting isn’t so easy. One mistake with the brush and you might be starting all over with new paper. Fixing an oops isn’t always easy. I’ve been painting some fun things for my kids’ bedroom.

Back to the spindle, I read one time that starting out with merino can be really hard. I looked up some spindle starter kits and most of them with BFL (blue faced Leicester) roving. I do have some BFL, but I was hoping to save it for when I know what I am doing and could actually make some gloves or socks with it. It is gorgeous dyed stuff that I bought when I first got my spindle. My problem is definitely drafting. The merino seems difficult to learn with. There were a bunch of fibers with the spindle, maybe I ought to look and see what they are.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

So Long, Summer

Yesterday, I made granola and granola bars. Here are the bars in progress:

They are wonderful, and so is the granola. The recipes came from the King Arthur Flour site. The dried fruit that I used came from my friend’s orchard. They make their own dried fruit, apple sauce, and, of course, sell fruit. Because of Kimi, I now believe there is nothing tastier than a dried pluot.

The closing days of summer here have been cold and wet. All it did all day yesterday was rain. By buckets. On the whole, this is good. It has been really dry, so the rain makes us feel better about all the dry grass surrounding us. It made our ducks very, very happy. They love rain.

The goats are now a for sure thing. We talked about it Wednesday and Brent was all for it. He wants to build some fence so we can have some steers, too. Fencing is pretty expensive, so it may not happen right away. The goats are definitely going to happen, though. They won’t require as much fence. We will have to build them a good little shed, though. And I think we should probably make it an enclosed shed for predator protection. We have cougars around here. Cougars are a danger to any size goat, not just little ones. I prefer the dog to be out when the kids are out playing in the yard. You just never know with big cats. And that bobcat visited our neighbors last year and got a couple goats about the same time it got into our birds. I think it was the bobcat and the neighbor thought it might have been, too. I am not sure how big the goats were because they have all sizes over there.

I’ve decided it is high time I really, actually learn how to use my spindle. I’ve had it for nearly 2 years. I think I am going to get some new fiber to play with. Before I knew what I was doing, I bought some merino to learn with. It isn’t the best fiber work with when you are beginning, so I’m going to get something a little easier to work with.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What Happened Here?

What a mess!

Ok, something happened to my kitchen. It was attacked by 3 boxes of peaches, and then I had to feed the family. And so, for 2 days all I did was slave over the stove. The family didn’t exactly eat healthy, well planned meals.

Here is how it all started:

3 boxes kind of like this one

They were prepared for canning.

They were canned or turned into jam.

And peach butter.

And now, if I don’t see any more peaches for a while, I will be ok with it.

Now I will tell you how we came to be owned by a peacock we called Oly. About 3 years ago, we had chickens, ducks, geese, and guineas. Our yard was very loud and our youngest was about to be born. One morning Brent didn’t have to be in to work until late, and we just happened to be watching our birds from the kitchen. I saw this dark bird that looked way too big to be a guinea fly in front of the coop. Brent was sure it was just a guinea. I was afraid it was a hawk trying to eat one of our little bantam cochins, so I went out to see. It was kind of surprising to go out there and see a VERY skittish peacock in our pen. He flew away at the time, but after a few days, he just started hanging out. At first, I thought he might be a female, because he didn’t have long tail feathers. That’s why he was first named Olivia. As in Olivia de Haviland. Brent was really happy when we found out it was male and we started calling him Oly. Like the beer. Brent loves to name things after beer. Anyway, I think it was probably about this time of year when Oly came. He stayed all winter and when spring came, started displaying to the chickens and the duck. Strangely, he never bothered with the guineas, and the geese died around Thanksgiving (a story for another day). He finally settled on impressing the duck. She wasn’t impressed and even hid from him. One night this crazy stray dog showed up and that must have been the last straw for Oly. We didn’t see him again. Later on in the year, my husband worked up the road a little way and there was a lone peacock hanging around this house. He was sure it was Oly. We’ve always thought that he came from a place about 2 miles from here where there has been a flock of Peafowl for many years. The older peacocks probably ran him off. I am glad Rima left a comment about peacocks, so I could remember all that. I really miss that bird, he was so beautiful.

Monday, September 15, 2008


And here we have the finished product:

Note the difference in the 2 hanks of yarn I used. The one with less white in it was in the bottom of the dye pot. I just dropped them in and poked them down, no stirring. It was interesting to see how different they came out.

On to other things. I am going to see if I can convince my husband to get some goats. Milking goats. And if I can’t talk him into it, I might have to get mean and just bring home some adorable little baby goats in the spring. Who can say no to an adorable little baby animal? But I’m pretty sure I can talk him into it. A few weeks ago he remarked that we should get some milking goats. That is what made me start thinking about it. Then today on Ravelry I read in a forum that chickens are gateway livestock. The way cigarettes are a gateway drug. I found that to be really funny. As many years as we’ve had chickens, we should definitely be moving up the food chain to something without feathers… Feathered creatures we have owned or been adopted by: guineas, geese, ducks, chickens (of course) and we were adopted by a peacock for a while. Until he figured out none the other birds were impressed by his advances. Then he left us as quickly as he adopted us. I miss him.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Some of My Projects

I can not express to you how happy I am to be done with my Palindrome Scarf. I don’t make many scarves because they go on and on. I get tired of them. Then I get sick and tired of them. But now I am done! I’d drink a beer if I had one.

I finished this swatch for my gansey:

Now I can begin the serious business of picking out the stitch patterns to use. I think I am going to go with 4 inches of ease. It is sport weight yarn, so I don’t think I want more ease than that.

And I have started a new project. I thought I wasn’t going to do that, but I couldn’t help myself. As punishment, I made myself finish Palindrome. Naturally, I am converting Accordion to a knit in the round sweater, so I am knitting the sleeve first. Accordion is basically 3 rectangles and there isn’t any underarm shaping. That is why I have to make the sleeve first, so I know when to split the front pieces from the back and knit things separately. I had to do the same thing with Boo last year. This is the beginning of my sleeve:

We will all note the lovely wild sunflowers in the background. I love them and allow them to grow freely anywhere but the yard. The girls have been picking them like crazy lately.

And this is where I am on my Monkey Socks:

I don’t work on it often enough to have the pattern memorized, but I am very familiar with it in spite of that. I see why people say it is easy to memorize. My plan is to finish this sock, then make the second sock of the Gentleman’s Half Hose. We all know how plans go, though!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Happy September

Today is way too fall-like. I need more warm weather to get goodies from my garden. We only just got these from our garden on Monday night:

Our first tomatoes! One slice per burger. Lovely, big, juicy tomatoes. How I love them. Happy days.

The knitting is mostly over for the Patchwork Tortoise. I have spent several evenings piecing together the strips I knit for the back:

It was a bit dicey figuring out how I was going to sew my strips together without getting 2 of the same color touching. I think it was a victory to only have 1 incidence of same color blocks touching. If I were to make this again in the future, I think I would use more colors for the tortoise’s back. I have enjoyed making it. It will be even more fun when Knitter #3 gets to play with it.

I’ve decided to type up my Survivor Man Hat and post it here as a free pattern. I’ve also been considering making another one in a softer yarn. The original is Lopi, which is very warm. It is also VERY rough to wear by your skin.

On another note, have any of you seen that pattern for a sweater in the Fall IK (p.30) that is made with lite Lopi? My heart goes out to the girl modeling that thing. I would never use a yarn like Lopi for that sort of garment. Lopi is great for outerwear. I have a knitted coat made with Lopi and I love it, but I wouldn’t wear it over a tank top. It makes me cringe to think of it.