Green Bean

2015/01/img_8914.jpg I finished the Common Bean Shaw tonight. As I was finishing I was really sweating it, I ended up with about 8 inches left over. That’s calling it close. I can’t tell you how I ended up with the semi striped effect. It was one of those happy spinning accidents. I could not re-create it if I tried. Right now it’s soaking and preparing to be blocked tomorrow.

It’s not easy being green

I intended to start another one of Katelin ffrench’s shawls but upon discovering that I did not have enough yardage I went to Plan B and switched to the Common Bean shawl. I am making this with my handspun. The only issue I had with spinning this yarn is that during the dying process the roving slightly felted and was not very draft friendly. This caused areas of thick and thin, I’m hoping not to the point where it affects the finished result.

2015/01/img_8886.jpg I am hoping this will turn out as planned. I haven’t knitted any lace in quite some time. It feels good to get back into it.

Startitis and ADD

This is not a good combination, there are so many things that I’d like to begin and I either don’t have the time or the materials ready. While perusing Ravelry the other day I found a really great pattern called “Without Moonlight” by Caitlin ffrench made with a bulky weight yarn. I knew that I had a fair amount of roving that I had dyed apple green, so I decided to spin it up. The unfortunate part is that the roving had felted a bit during the dying process and drafting it was not fun. There are some spots where it’s a little thick and thin but I’m hoping that A) I’ll have enough yardage and B) it won’t be so wonky that it doesn’t turn out a nice consistent fabric. The great thing about spinning bulky yarn is that it’s quick, I spun the entire approximately 6 ounces last night and plied it tonight.

2015/01/img_8872.jpg also, did I mention the fact that it’s a free pattern? Wish me luck.

Holidaze

All I can say about the holidays is that I’m glad they’re over. Just once I would like to be able to get through the holidays without issue. This year everything was basically okay except for having a major falling out with a friend. I can’t say it was any one incident I believe that it’s been in the works for a while. Perhaps we are just different people now and this is where things need to be.
I’m glad that I started my holiday knitting projects in July. I kept it simple, just some cotton dish cloths along with some homemade jams. Everyone seemed to like them. I refuse to run around in the rat race of gift shopping. The holidays are stressful enough.
As for knitting, I’ve been trying to catch up on some random FO’s that have been hanging around in my basket for ever. I have yet to address L’Enveloppe, I keep hoping that it will magically seam itself. I did my very first mystery knit along through a designer on Ravelry. It was kind of fun, I did not know what the finished object to would be although I went through her other designs and liked what I saw. As it turns out it’s a very nice, as my friend Lynne put it “scowl”. It’s a cross between a shawl and a cowl. I used Paton’s “Alpaca”, it’s a chunky weight yarn and it’s very soft and drapey.

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I also completed a matching set including a hat, mitts and a cowl from the Simple Collection by Tin Can Knits. Admittedly, matching sets are usually pretty dorky in my book but the simplicity of these patterns make them all work well together without looking over done. There’s also a very nice cardigan included within the set of patterns that I think I might make. If you haven’t checked out these patterns on Ravelry I recommend you do so, the entire collection is free!

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Everything else is status quo. Maybe that’s a good thing. I have managed to scam a couple of days off of work to catch up on the household basics. Today’s chore was defrosting the chest freezer in the basement. I always take advantage of the below freezing weather to store everything on the patio while I defrost. Tomorrow I will be hitting the post office to mail out some very belated Christmas presents and doing Maude’s grocery shopping for her.
Rocco and I seem to have called a truce, he still has his growly moments but he’s been a little bit better since I’ve been backing off and letting him be himself. The only time I really address his behavior is when he’s getting particularly nasty or dominant. Here’s a nice snap of him modeling his Christmas present, a dog collar from Detroit manufacturing company that has a seat belt style buckle clasp and a nice print of the city map on it.

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As for spinning, I’ve been doing a lot of spindle spinning but I haven’t really put anything together as of yet as far as definitive project. There are a lot of ideas in my head that simply haven’t made their way out through my hands yet, but I’m working on it. I would like to give a shameless plug to Snyder spindles. I have been purchasing his spindles for several months now and I think I’m up to five at this point. They are reasonably priced and spin like a dream. He really puts a lot of thought into his products. The latest one I purchased is his “45 spindle”. The top of it looks like that little plastic thingamajig that you popped inside of a 45 record to spin on a regular turntable.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2fd/43651537/files/2015/01/img_8850.jpg I don’t know how much yardage I’ve managed to get out of this but it’s a fair amount. This was spun on his medium weight spindle, it landed somewhere between a worsted and a sport weight. .
Okay, it’s late, I’m tired and I’ve unloaded all my fiber and personal baggage for the time being. Let’s hope for a peaceful and drama free new year.

Falling Behind

That is, falling behind on updating this blog. Of course the best laid plans… I had every intention of keeping up with posting a little bit better over the fall but I’m afraid canning season interfered with any spare time that I might’ve had until the end of October. After that it was just playing catch-up and dealing with daily life. I have to say canning season was pretty epic this year I put a lot in my pantry. I tried to make more of the items that I went through quickly last year and less of the items that seem to linger.

IMG_8493.JPG All in all I think I did pretty well.
Gus came out for her annual visit in October. We never seem to have enough time together although I did take the entire week off of work this time. It was great to see her and hang out. She stayed at Maude’s house which gave both of us a little perspective. Gus discovered how challenging dealing with Maude can be and I discovered that I’m not crazy regarding that very same point.

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As far as the knitting and spinning front I’ve been rather productive lately. I spun some natural colored black and white Shetland wool into a worsted weight that I immediately knit into an improvised cowl. It turned out rather nicely and it’s a size that can be worn as a long scarf or doubled up.

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I also did a quick and dirty spinning job on a random batt that I had hanging around in my stash for quite some time. The colors are fun and funky and it has lots of glitz in it to give it some sparkle.

IMG_8737.JPG I ended up with about 200 yards, not a lot but I think I can do something fun, perhaps a neck warmer with it.
I have been procrastinating on L’Enveloppe, not surprising since there’re seams involved. I know… there isn’t that much seaming to be done but I hate it and will do absolutely anything to avoid doing it. I have even contemplated waiting until my knitting get away to complete that particular project. I feel like I need group moral support to finish this thing.
As for upcoming projects, I’m itching to do something with lace. I really love lace knitting and haven’t done any for quite some time. I’m looking for the perfect pattern to go with my “winter of 2013” colorway that I dyed and spun. By looking for the ultimate pattern I have been spending a lot of time perusing Ravelry. I don’t have to tell any of my knitting friends what a time suck this can be, I’ve probably spent more time looking at patterns then actually knitting.
Otherwise life is status quo there’s nothing really new going on. Maude seems to be holding her own as far as maintaining her independence in her home. Life here on my homefront is as it’s always been, it’s not the best of situations and it’s not the worst of situations. I try to get through life finding a little nuggets of happiness wherever I can. As for Mr. Rocco he is also status quo. With him it has always been two steps forward and two steps back. I believe the bottom line is that he’s difficult, he will always be difficult.

IMG_7565.JPG I don’t believe we will ever be friends, not like I have been with my other dogs. Such is life, hope yours is going well.

Summer?

As usual all of my knitting intentions over the summer have fallen by the wayside. My goal was to finish up any UFOs in my knitting basket and start a sweater for the winter. Needless to say none of this has happened. The only knitting that I’ve done that I “should” be doing is my Christmas knitting of corner to corner dishcloths. I have yet to seam up my capelet that I started at the knit away this last spring. It’s in my basement, I see it every day, I walk past it, I look at it and that’s as far as it gets. Even my spinning has sort of gone by the wayside although I did start spinning a polworth and silk blend that I purchased at the wine and wool festival.
The only project that I have started recently is a scarf for Eric’s niece who is going off to college this fall. It’s a loop scarf with a lacy pattern. I did not spin the yarn but I did dye it during the power outage a few weeks ago. I was going for a tonal royal blue color and I think it turned out pretty nice.

IMG_8010.JPG Of course this is canning season so that has been taking up a great deal of my time. I’ve done pickles, green beans, salsa, tomatoes and pickled beets. I finished my second batch of salsa tonight.

IMG_8115.JPG I can’t say that I’ve done anything really extraordinarily fun lately. I did go to the Allegan fiber fest. I would have to say I was somewhat underwhelmed by it. A lot of the vendors that I buy from at the Washtenaw fiber fest were there. The highlight of the day was getting to see Deb whom I usually only run into at my knitting retreat.
As for any personal stuff life is pretty much status quo. Maude’s house seems to be falling down around her. My brother has been over there doing some major electrical repairs this week. Thankfully we at least have someone in the family who can do these things. Unfortunately he is stretched so thin between his sons and his job it makes it difficult. It’s great that he knows how to do all sorts of handy stuff but it’s also unfortunate in the fact that he is the “go to” guy that everybody calls when they have a problem with their house or car. Rocco is Rocco, we had a little setback a few weeks ago when unbeknownst to me Eric started feeding him again. We have had the conversation numerous times about Eric not feeding the dog off of his plate because it causes him to guard his “food source”. Now that he has stopped, again, Rocco’s behavior has improved.

IMG_7885.JPG “may I lick your teeth? Yes, unfortunately that is one of his obsessions. I still believe that he is on the autism spectrum for animals. Well I think I’m going to wind up this post as life is been pretty boring lately. And I don’t want to bore my two avid readers. I hope everyone had a great summer and hopefully we’ll have a great fall.

Warm Weather Wanderings.

After our hellish winter, the weather has finally broken and turned in to summer. It was beautiful this past weekend so I definitely took advantage of it. My niece Becky planned to come from Owasso and stay with me on Saturday and Sunday. We crammed a lot into two days but it was all good. Saturday a.m. we went to kettle bell class as per usual. Afterwards we met up with my friends Cyndi and Cheri and went to the Pewabic pottery factory on Jefferson in Detroit. I had never been there and unbeknownst to us there was an event going on where many different ceramic artists were showcased. Pottery being one of my weaknesses, it was overwhelming feast for the eyes.

20140609-182040-66040303.jpg There were many beautiful items but this fireplace that was completely finished with Pewabic tiles was truly amazing. We continued from there to the Honeybee market to pick up some Mexican specialties for dinner later on. After that Becky and I made an unscheduled stop at the 555 Gallery on Vernor Highway in Mexican town. I had been to this gallery before and found the staff to be very informative and down to earth. This day’s visit was no exception. The artists were working on some iron casting molds and were more than happy to show us the entire process. Not only did they share their expertise with us but they wanted us to get involved. They were selling sand molds to be carved out for casting. I bought one of them and will carve out my design over the next couple days and then drop the mold off at the gallery to be cast on Saturday. Per the artist that gave us the tour the casting of the molds will be quite an event, not to be missed.

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20140609-182831-66511198.jpg This is my uncarved mold and one of the cast iron art displays at the gallery. It looks like a large textured seedpod that can be rolled in sand to leave an impression.
After Becky and I left the gallery we hooked up with Cyndi and Cheri again and hung out with them for the evening enjoying Mexican food, cocktails and conversation. I had almost forgotten, earlier in the day Becky and I discovered People’s bakery in Detroit. We picked up half a dozen jelly donuts and took them to Maude. She seemed pretty happy about getting a sugar fix and I think she was glad to see Becky. The next day Becky and I went to check out the Eastern market artist market. This is something that has started new this year and from what I can see from the crowd it’s very well received. We walked around and looked at the displays, check out the food trucks and decided to have a bloody at Vivio’s, of course.

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We came back home and Mr. Larj ordered pizza for everyone. We hung out, watched a movie and relaxed until it was time for Becky to leave to go home. During her visit I also gave Becky her birthday present, the first Stitch and Bitch book. She’s just starting to learn to knit.
On the knitting front I am still working on L’Enveloppe. I managed to finish the first section at this point it has to be steam blocked and seamed (yes I know, seamed). It is no secret that I have a complete aversion to seaming garments. Nothing will kick in my procrastination like facing the prospect of making two edges match up. Not only that, I am less than pleased with how the pattern is written. For such a wordy pattern it leaves gaps in some pretty crucial areas. I have still yet to completely figure out how to line this thing up put it together and then pick up the second section. I guess I will either figure it out on my own or I will be hunting one of my fellow knitters down for some tech help. At least it’s green.

20140609-184825-67705699.jpg To give myself a little relief from the hair pulling of L’Enveloppe, I’ve also been working on some simple dishcloths. I figure these will be stocking stuffers and upcoming summer birthday presents.

20140609-184943-67783245.jpg My biggest knitting accomplishment recently is to finish the “never-ending shawl”. I guess it finally did come to an end. I’m very happy with the way it turned out. It is the first project that I followed the directions start to finish from how it was to be spun to the knitting pattern. I don’t know that I was all that crazy about knitting with a lace weight single but the finished project certainly turned out beautifully.

20140609-185229-67949743.jpg Today I took Rocco for his follow-up ultrasound for his bladder stones. According to the vet they’re not any better and they’re not any worse. At this point it’s a matter of keeping an eye on things and making sure he doesn’t get any worse. We will continue his course of medication and his special diet, along with yearly follow-up ultrasounds. The vet also mentioned the possibility of further surgery on down the road but hopefully we can prevent that from happening with proper care. On a behavior front, Rocco has done a 180° turn from when we first got him. He is far more loving and attentive towards me. I can’t even express how happy and relieved I am to finally have a canine companion.

20140609-191051-69051906.jpg Well, it’s back to a regular work week tomorrow. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and I will continue to try and keep up with regular posting.