Category: Blog

Local Color

In the garden- poppies- putting on quite a show this year-

beautiful purple cabbages!

German chamomile harvested and drying

Calendulas need picking

Agastache, chamomile, anise hyssop melange for my pollinator friends

(not) Pink (yet) German

Jaune Flamme

Unconsciously mirrored in wool this week-

Funny how that works out 😉

Also did a little bit of felting, and wanted to share that I’ve identified yet another re-use for feed bags. They make great storage for wool in the pre-felting stage. For a lightweight felt sheet I lay down four very fine layers of carded wool in opposing directions on top of one section the opened bag, then fold over the remaining material and roll it into a tube.

Then I slip a rubber band around the roll, and my wool stays organized and easy to store until I’m ready to get out my high tech felting setup (yoga mat, bubble wrap, chiffon fabric, PVC, shoelace) and do the hot water and rolling routine. I find that it’s much more manageable in stages.

Something so satisfying about farm fresh felt 🙂

Odds and Ends, Assembled

Having finished up my experimental stranded vest, I needed to get another little something on the needles. I had on hand a ziplock of various leftover bits of yarn- and decided to pull them together into a Coast to Coast Beanie (my go-to hat pattern).

I really enjoy working this way- figuring out how to use what’s on hand to best effect. Here is in-progress hat

And speaking of pulling together bits- I did a reorg on the wool room this weekend!

This year’s washed wool got incorporated into the vacuum packed bags, sorted by sheep.

Scrunched down like that, it almost looks like a reasonable amount of wool, no?

The already-been-carded wool resides in bins in the opposite corner

Everything in it’s place. Nice while it lasts!

Have a good week folks-

Summer Staycation

I took the past week off work, and enjoyed just having some unstructured time around the homestead to read, garden, and play with wool (not necessarily in that order).

No real agenda or specific goals. Just being outside, hangin’ with the critters, and reveling in the arrival of summer.

I did, however, get a few things done-

Wool washing- that’s the last of this year’s clip (left to right: Daphne, Fiona, Dottie). All washed and sweet-smelling!

Time behind the wheel- (the Spindle Cycle wheel- focus on Dottie wool with the new larger whorl)

Finishing up my experimental stranded vest-

The vest just came together yesterday. Put some binding along the shoulder seams and back neck for structure, and finished the reverse stockinette edgings. And it’s a good fit! Not bad for a project that started out as a cowl 🙂

A nice little side-benefit I discovered to doing a steek on the full length of an object is that by changing colors at the site that you plan to cut, you can avoid having millions of loose yarns to weave in at the end! Nice, eh? I’m pretty pleased with how that whole thing worked out. I might even make another one soon, this time on purpose, with steek stitches built in to the plan from the start.

And just today I got around to doing some dyeing. I had hopes of maybe doing an indigo vat this week, but hadn’t planned ahead, and didn’t have all the necessary materials. So i dove into the stash and found a few old packets of Gaywool dyes in various shades of green to play with

In the hoophouse, things are starting to come along- picked my first little cukes yesterday, seeing some baby ‘maters coming on, but it feels like we’re a little behind compared with the last couple years.

The borage and calendulas are going nuts, tho- so the bees are happy. And I expect that if the bees are happy, then I will be happy eventually. I just need to be patient. And so far, everything looks really healthy- not seeing any indications of that fungus that plagued me last summer, knock on wood.

And my favorite roses are blooming

St. Cecilia and Emma Hamilton are making a strong showing, but Jude the Obscure suffered a lot of die-back this winter. Hoping he’ll recover as the season progresses. Keep a good thought!

Basking

If peonies in bloom signal the arrival of summer, then I think that we’re finally there (maybe?)

And it is suddenly almost 30 degrees warmer in during the day than it was a week or so ago. Crazy stuff, weather.

Things are finally kicking into gear in the garden and hoophouse, though I wonder if some of the peps are ever going to catch up. Might have gotten stunted by the late cold temps. Only time will tell, I guess.

Taking advantage of the sun today to get a little fleece washing/drying done- Daphne’s curls look so sweet all fresh from the bath 🙂

An exciting development on the equipment front- The Man helped me out with a mod to the spindle wheel, adding another speed-

So now I’ve got two ratios: 29:1 on the small pulley, and 21:1 on the larger.

Also was pointed to another really good video about the Rio Grande Wheel and the flip technique in the Ravelry Spindle Wheel group- just going to drop the link here for future reference: https://vimeo.com/106008863 It’s long, but the spinning technique bit starts about 23 minutes in.

So here is the Spindle Cycle (new name I’m trying out) in her current configuration

Oh- I also made some significant progress on the afterthought-steek vest. I succeeded in color-shifting the wool/mohair sweater to a slightly more yellow green with the help of a marigold dye bath, and have seamed it to the stranded vest front.

It’s finally coming together! Next step, figuring out what kind of finishing to use on the edges.