For a Short Month-

February really packs a punch.

Finally got some good weather for pruning this weekend and so got down to business with pruning fruit trees and roses.

Eased myself in with rosebushes on Friday, and then Saturday I felt I was ready to take on the big apple tree. I spent about 4 hours sawing, clipping and lopping. And then I realized that we might need to take more drastic action to address a structural issue.

It turns out that, due to a bad pruning decision about 14-15 years ago, we had a rot problem atop the northwest quadrant of the tree that was likely going to cause the canopy on that side to give way at some point.

Here is the tree last year after pruning

So we had to take out vertical bit right there in the center.

And there is the aftermath- strewn on the ground beneath.

Here’s a picture of aforementioned rot

We might need to do some further reductions to bring the tree back in balance, but will leave that decision for later. I’m pretty darn worn out from hauling off the debris.

This week also saw the arrival of a bunch of baby chickens from the farm store. The Man picked out a bunch of Golden Sexlinks Friday, and I augmented the batch with a few little Welsummers on Saturday. They are settled into their little chick habitat in the shop for now- peeping and bopping about and being super cute

So that’s pretty exciting- and by late summer we should be up to our eyeballs in eggs!

In wool news, I’ve got a bobbinful of Felix singles spun up, probably almost half of the rolag mountain.

And I’ve finally made a start on Dolores’ Notorious judicial outfit.

Dolores is pretty excited about a new getup, so I’d better get on with it!

Darn It!

This week, I caught a Fruity Knitting podcast that got me inspired to do some mending. Their guest was Flora Collingwood-Norris, of Collingwood-Norris Design.

The sweaters and scarves and all were nice, but the bit that I found really exciting was her visible mending work. Got me motivated to do a little darning of my own!

So I dug around in my closet and found a vintage, thrift store sweater that I’d been holding onto, despite the elbows having worn thin.

It’s mint green, brushed wool and mohair- I’m thinking maybe 1970’s? Super light and very warm, on account of the super fuzzy texture.

But the elbows were giving out, so I haven’t worn it in quite a while

Poor fuzz-less elbows, but a stitch in the center there ready to give way!

Since there were still stitches there to reinforce, I decided to use Swiss Darning (duplicate stitch) to reinforce the area. And for the darning yarn, I chose something suitably flashy

I decided to not really define the borders, but just start stitching and work as far in each direction as seemed necessary to address the weakness.

So the shapes kind of just grew and followed the wear patterns. And here is the result

It didn’t take terribly long, and now the sweater is ready to go back into service!

Next I want to try a woven darn. Seems like it would be a handy skill to have. I might try to get ahold of one of these neat little tools- SpeedWeve

In other wool news, I’ve been handcarding Felix wool in the evenings, and now have a small mountain of rolags to spin up!

Felix wool likes to be spun fine, so aiming for between a 90-100 yds per oz two-ply for this yarn- a beautiful blank canvas for summertime dyeing 🙂

Snow Days

It started Friday night, and has been snowing almost continuously since.

How different things look from a week or so ago.

And inside, more squishy, bouncy Dottie yarn dries atop the pellet stove.

(yes, that is a sheep-shaped object holding it secure in on the right side)

I think we’re through the worst of it- forecast tells of warmer days this week. I keep hoping that spring is right around the corner!

Better Late than Never

Usually sometime around New Year’s I try to do a little wool housekeeping.

I generally round up all the bobbins from my spinning wheels and remove all the odd bits leftover from previous spinning projects by plying them into a single skein.

This year’s reboot start is a little late, but refreshing none-the-less.

Bobbins before:

I was able to match most of the leftovers with another of a similar weight for a decent two-ply, but the last couple varieties got chain plied.

And here are all the newly cleared bobbins

The resulting yarn all washed and dried is kind of an interesting mashup of colors

Might have to work it into some small “Remains of 2020” project.

Have a good week y’all 🙂