Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Return from MIA....

Ok, so I've been MIA for a while. I have been sucked into a whirlwind called life. So much has happened, and there were bouts of anxiety. I have, however, succeeded in working myself through it all. Through it all I've had my crafting! Crafting has saved me - again! I have been able to finally use the sewing machine that my loving husband brought for me during mother's day 2012. I have been learning about beading techniques - so much fun and possibly a whole new addiction for me! I even learned how to weave on frame loom! Crochet has made a resurgence in my life! I've completed two wonderful shawls, and a shawlette - mentioned in a previous post - and have started a fourth! Spinning has slowed a bit, while I knit, crochet, bead and sew. This blog has been sadly neglected. I am hoping that I can change that and be a bit more consistent. So as not to end this post without pictures, I will share some recently completed work, as well as some works in progress. Fan of tassels shawl Amita shawl Shortie Shell capelet Shetland/alpaca laceweight handspun dyed in indigo and bonus indigo dyed ginned cotton Ginned cotton blended with bamboo and mulberry silk Ginned cotton with bamboo/mulberry silk and natural green cotton Honey cowl Babydoll southdown/German Angora /Kid Mohair laceweight - to be plied Bowtie pie crochet shawl Unknown wool 90%/10% sparkly trilobal nylon (which I couldn't capture in the photo!) Cheviot wool blended with mulberry silk

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pictureless post

There's nothing like eating the food grown by one's own hands. I just ate some cabbage from the garden, and baked tofu seasoned with herbs from the garden. It was awesome! I was worried that the cabbage wouldn't be too good, because the bugs had been going at it for so long. But the largest of the four cabbages was firm and ready to harvest. I washed the leaves really well, and washed it again. I cooked it with a drop of olive oil, sea, salt, garlic and fresh onions from the garden. The tofu was sliced and seasoned with Oldbay seasoning, freshly ground black pepper, fresh onions, lemon thyme, lemon basil, sage and baked in a pan lined with a tiny bit of olive oil. All herbs and onions grown by me. The taste...incredible. I'm a happy gardener.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Busy Bee

I've been busy with crafting...squeezing in time when I and there. In dyeing news: Here's some fiber that I recently over-dyed. I dyed this merino/angora/silk top a couple years ago, but there was too much white still showing through since the dye had not penetrated the fiber completely. The fiber was too compacted, I realized later, and that's why my dyeing attempt wasn't successful. I overdyed it again with similar colors, using dyes I got from Lie.ttle Barn, while at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. They were only $2.95! You know me...always looking for that bargain. It turned out much better this time. What do you think? Since I had so much dye stock remaining, I decided to dye a laceweight skein, as well as some short stapled polypay fleece I got from a shepherdess in Michigan. In knitting news: I finished the pink shawl I was knitting out of my handdyed, handspun cheviot singles. Here it is blocking simply. I didn't want to block too heavily since it's a thin singles yarn. So, just wet the shawl lightly and hung it over the rail in the back yard. I love it. Many years ago, I spun a yarn from mohair and angora - one ply of each. Then, years later, I knitted some glovelets. One night, I lost the right glovelet. I was so bummed! Now, a few years later, I discovered that I had some of the same yarn left over. I guessed that it would be enough to make another glovelet. So, yesterday I knitted another, during my commute to and from work. I was literally sweating the whole time because I wasn't sure if there would actually be enough yarn. What you see hanging from the top of the glovelet is all the yarn left! Five inches! Whew! Talk about cutting it close! I also had a piece of scrap left over from the first time which I can use to sew it up. I was so happy that I had judged my yardage correctly that I immediately started another pair with some alpaca/angora yarn that was also spun years ago. Notice I an using straight needles to knit these glovelets. I haven't used straight needles in years! I pulled these well used, vintage needles from my needle stash. Notice they are made in France! In spinning news: I am participating in Tour de Fleece, a spinning gathering of sorts on where spinners set spinning goals and try to achieve them during the Tour de France. I am spinning cotton for Team I Spin Cotton, and silk noil for Team Support spindlers. Here are my efforts: Cotton: Silk noil: Silk noil

Monday, June 24, 2013

What's been up

I've been away from blogging for so long!Life has really gotten in the way. Work, the family, the home, the garden, name it! I've been wanting to post for some time, but honestly, I've just been too exhausted to sit down and do it. Well, today I have some free time, so here I am. In gardening news: I started my garden in early May, so that my fruits and veggies could have an early start, and my harvest would be early as well. Here's what I have planted: straight neck squash,zucchini, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, string beans,sweet basil, thai basil, parsley, cilantro, lettuce, mint, rosemary, thyme, sage, swiss chard,beets, cabbage, arugula, eggplant, chives, cotton, strawberries. Also, I planted blueberry bushes and raspberry bushes, which were already fruiting! Whew! I may have forgotten something. Please forgive me. :) Gardening is very hard work, but so enjoyable. It makes me feel connected to the earth, and makes me happy to be able to produce food to feed my family. Sustainability - it's good for us! LOL! My food shopping bill has been cut severely because of the garden. That's the greatest part of it all! Here are a few pics from the garden: In crafting news: I did finally take the sewing machine that hubby brought me for 2012 mother's day out of the box it came in! My friend, Nadine, showed me how to set it up and get started on it. Not as scary as I thought! I made 4 pincushions! No pics of those - sorry. I really need basic sewing supplies, then I'll venture onto something else. My spinning wheel has been unloved and is showing it. He squeaks when I touch him! I have to clean him up and throw something sweet and fine on him real soon. My spindles, however, have been getting a whole lot of attention. I've discovered a new love - turkish spindles. These spindles are interesting in their shape in that they have arms which interlock when the smaller arm is placed through a slit in larger arm and forms a crss or an X (depending on how you view it). They are spun suspended, and reminds me of my beloved bottom whorl spindles. I've amassed a pretty large collection pretty quickly. Here are 4 of them loaded with some dark colored wool (navy, green and burgundy) with trilobal nylon which is very sparkly, but difficult to capture in photos. Here's are my phang spindles. These look like sticks sharpened to a point at both ends and rounded slightly in the middle. I am spinning some cheviot wool which I dyed and blended with a bit of tussah silk, and mulberry silk, to make the spinning smoother. I think I've mastered support spinning on these spindles now. They take a bit of practice getting used to, but are fun to use. In knitting news: I've been working on the Smeagal shawl by MMario on Ravelry. I'm also in his yahoo group. I wanted something simple to knit on my commute, so I started this shawl with my handspun cheviot singles dyed in varying shades of pink. I had one large skein and wanted to use every bit of yarn, so I figure I'll just keep knitting to the end of the pattern. I ran out on row 5 of 6, right before starting the 6 row border. Luckily, I have 3 other skeins of the same wool in a similar shade of pink. I'm going to wind my skein into a ball tonight and finish it up. In Crocheting news: I have not crocheted anything in forever. There was a thick layer of dust on my hooks, and they were begging to be cleaned and loved. So, I obliged. I started two crochet shawls from patterns found on Ravelry. Amita shawl. Made with a yarn that has been lingering in my stash for years. I had crochedte skirt with it many moons ago, and had a lot of yarn remaining. I thought the yarn and pattern worked well together. The yarn in Schaeffer mischgarn. Fan of tassels shawls. Made with a yarn of unknown content given to me by my friend Nefer. It's a chartreuse color, which I love. That's all I have time for now, folks. I'll be back....:)