Saturday, November 29, 2008

Noro... YUM!

As soon as I saw b r o o k l y n t w e e d 's (I know it's not really his) Noro Stripe Scarf I was smitten, but kind of forgot about it because of all the other projects I had going on. Then The Harlot got on board, and I went, "Oh yea, I wanted to do that!" So I did, and am still doing it. The scarf is almost half done.

noro scarf

The mittens are a mitered variation on the theme (EZ's pattern in The Knitter's Almanac). This mitten is the second mitten I've knitted. Where is the first, you ask? Good question. I hated the color line up so much I frogged it. I rewound one ball the opposite direction in hopes of making it more pleasing... time will tell.

mitered mitten 1

The hat hasn't been started, but it will soon. I have the yarn already.

My felted clogs are done. After three trips though the wash they're perfect! I lurve them and will only be taking them off to leave the house! Before felting they're rather unattractive.

slippers before felting

But after felting all their floppy hideousness is GONE and they are transformed into warm, sturdy, beautiful clogs.

after felting view 1

This is the first time I have had my children for more than five days in many months. They all came with me to the Annual Thanksgiving Feast at work (I made Lynne Rosetto Casper's Fast and Crisp Roast Turkey for the third year and it is a huge hit. I am a believer in brining a turkey, this one has quite a few extras in the brine, but the juicy flavorful bird after the roasting is worth it. If you do look at the recipe, it really does roast at 450 degrees for a fraction of the time it usually takes to roast a turkey.

On actual Thanksgiving I made another smaller bird for the four of us, and tired to duplicate my friend Becca's amazing sweet and savory dressing. After two more turkey based meals I made a huge vat of soup (with veggies roasted under the bird for that very purpose) and put it in the freezer. Maybe we'll be able to eat it in a week or two.

We went for a walk at Ayr Mount it's only about a mile from our house and the poet's walk is a nice path through the woods and by a pond and ends up at the house. The Kirkland house was built in 1815 and was the first in the federal style in the area. There are 265 acres and we've only seen a small portion of that so far, but since it's close and the Eno River flows through it I'm sure we'll go often.

kirkland house

kirkland house back

pond from top

ayr mount walk

One more day of knitting and leisure and then it's back to the regular grind!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ring of Fire

Still churning out the knitting - I think the drop in temperature has been helpful - and am over three-quarters done on the Through the Loops Mystery Socks! It's a beautiful pattern, but the shapely cables make my ankles look disappointingly thick. Hence the photograph on the sock blocker! I have yet to get a picture that accurately shows the many shades of brown in the yarn.

Through the Loops Mystery sock

I'm also working on the Noro Scarf (it's a Ravelry link) that will have matching mitered mittens and a hat. I have never made a "set" of matching anything other than socks and scarves and I figured why the hell not?

Morgan's Opal socks are finished - finally. I "finished" the first one when he wasn't here and when he got back from his dad's I had him try it on and it was definitely too short. I undid the end and lengthened it and now they are perfect. Bowen has outgrown last year's pair and has asked for another, with my production rate I asked him not to hold his breath!

morgan's socks

I'm working on another fambly calendar to send to the Grandfolk and we decided to have some fun with light trails. Once we got the dog out of the room it went much better and with less danger of anyone catching on fire in the process. We're going to try again tomorrow night, it's pretty hard for the kids to hold still with the shutter open for any length of time, but they did pretty well. The fambly portrait known as The Ring of Fire:


Maybe by Saturday I'll have some new felted clogs finished! I had high hopes of making each of us a pair, but the large needle size wreaks havoc on my fingers and wrists. They are a pretty quick knit, though.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Ummm.... bread

I haven't been dyeing at all lately, but I've been knitting so much I'm going to have to back off because my hands are pretty sore. In addition to the knitting I've been baking quite a bit. Pumpkins are in season and my family loves pumpkin bread and pies. We've had four loaves of bread in the past couple weeks (and given two away) and there's still some pumpkin in the fridge. I also bought Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day which came highly recommended by Susan Gibbs. She's right - it rocks! I've been baking bread since high school and have always loved it, but with all the other things I have to do in a day hasn't been possible to fit bread making into the schedule. WRONG! My new routine is to mix up a batch of wet dough on the weekends and then take a hunk out of the fridge when I get home from work and while supper is cooking, put that lovely loaf in the oven and presto - dinner and good bread are ready! I've made the basic broule and the bagels - both are delicious. The bagels are for the kids' lunches, although we did celebrate with them the morning after the election since they were shaped like an "O". If I end up roasting another pumpkin today I'm going to try the Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread. A mediocre shot of the yummy bagels is below (CFB's in the kitchen fixture with no natural light is my least favorite lighting situation).


I finally finished Foliage. I tried back in January and after frogging a couple of times figured my mind was not in the right place. It was this time! I decided to do a rolled brim since (thanks to the beauty of top down knitting) I could see after the three pattern repeats a rib pattern would have been down over my eyes!

foliage side redo

Another FO, The Yarn Harlot's One Row Scarf knit in the lovely Broken Yolks dyed by Sarah spun and cabled by me. I like the color shifts throughout. Morgan has his eye on this one.

one row scarf in broken yolks

It looks like it's going to be another lovely fall day, maybe perfect for more baking.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hat day

I have a thing for hats; I buy some and make a hell of a lot more. This year all the kids liked the Noro hat by Saartje de Bruijn and asked me to make them each one. I finally finished Morgan's last week and asked our friend Mel to take some pictures of them. Her partner Angela is in the background making sure we're all "even".

noro family

noro tops

Then I got Morgan to model MY finished Nehalem (pattern by Oat Couture). I used the worsted weight Beaverslide Dry Goods yarn I got a few weeks ago. It has a fabulous octagon in the back in addition to the lovely cable on the band. Unfortunately my dear son has the hat on backwards and some of the lovely cable band isn't so lovely in the back. I used a provisional cast on to eliminate the seam, but the pattern isn't quite right and it bugs me. Wouldn't bother me at all if it were in the back.

morgan nehalem

nehalem back

After the photo shoot we went to two local cemeteries for fun. One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, William Hooper is buried here in Hillsborough. Some of the gravestones are almost worn completely smooth and they have plaques asking people not to do rubbings. I think the earliest gravestone we found was 1806. Several markers for men that were in the Civil War too. Here's a tribute I was surprised by -

grave stone tribute

I didn't think he would have been allowed to serve on the Supreme Court of NC after being a Colonel in the Confederate Army. May have to google him to find out "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used to say.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Catching up

Dead silence in blog land lately, but there's been a fair amount of action in reality. Last weekend was the first annual Hillsborough Handmade Parade with the theme The Eno and her Creatures. Hillsborough loves a parade and typically has a good turn out for such events. This one is sponsored by the Hillsborough Arts Council and had some workshops offered by Paperhand Puppet Intervention. We have some friends that were planning on participating and I thought it would be small and cute, but had no idea the turnout would be so fantastic! The costumes, the community band (I didn't know we had one), the drums, the crowds - awesome! I brought along the camera, but the battery died after only three pictures and I didn't bring any back-up. So lame of me. At soccer that very morning, we starting talking telling another Hillsborough resident about our day's plan and she offered to bring The Original Dragon from the very first Eno River Festival and needed eight people to make it go. Here's the result

eno dragon

Lewis was very patient with my attempts at picture taking and the result was still rather fuzzy. Sorry.


And the last picture before the battery died was of a dragonfly. It was stunning and was created by Michael Brown, Mark Donley, Tinka Jordy and Jennifer Miller for the Hillsborough Arts Council.


My very favorite costume was a small flock of red-headed woodpeckers; one complete with a nest. So cute.

Today I've finished another hat and am going to work on my Through The Loops Mystery Sock. I forgot to go up in needle size after the cuff and the cables have made sock #1 too small to fit. I'm almost finished with the third clue for sock #2 and then I shall go back and rip out all the beautiful cable bits back to the cuff and try and finish by Wednesday. Tomorrow there are plans for a family photo shoot (with knitting) and some knitted bits on their own.

The leaves are starting to turn and soccer was cold this morning. I'm getting in the mood for winter - bring on the wool!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fiber progress

I've had a burst of knitting FO's in the past couple days. The main reason is that a yarn order I placed had some weird glitch by arriving in Greensboro when it was supposed to (some people track weather systems, I track packages) and then nothing was posted to the system for FOUR days. After the four days of tracking silence the package suddenly made an appearance in California! As a result, there has been no dyeing this weekend. I have been knitting, spinning, cleaning carpets, and trying to get caught up with the elusive laundry cycle.

The Family of Noro Hats is almost complete. Only the first is actually knitted with Noro yarn, all the rest are done in various shades of hand-dyed by me. Bowen's is done and I cannot seem to get an accurate shot of the colors. It's not this yellow at all.

bowen's noro

I'm hoping when he comes back to my house tomorrow we can get an outdoor shot that will do the colors justice. Morgan's is on the needles and moving along nicely.

The Mason-Dixon Knitters have a new book Knitting Outside the Lines and I've been making the quick knit, purposeful Monteagle Bag. It calls for Euroflax but since I don't have any of that lying around I used good ole Peaches 'n Creme.

monteagle bag

For the second bag I did a double-knit cast-on so I wouldn't have to seam the bottom and I used some of the left over Hempathy from the Hip in Hemp skirt. I think the bottom of the bag is the most beautiful part!

monteagle bag


I used it today and it handled some beets and rustic bread very well.

One of my orders did arrive this week. After all the hullabaloo about Beaverslide Dry Goods from b r o o k l y n t w e e d I decided to give them a try. I opened the box and look at how beautiful my merino/kid mohair roving is:

beaverslide roving

A giant ball of fiber love! I ordered some yarn too, one fisherman's weight and the other two are worsted. Each yarn is a two ply.

beaverslide yarn

I see more hats in my near future!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cozy yarn sale

This is belated, sorry about that, but Cozy's Annual Yarn Sale was a smashing success! I knew it would make all the difference if people could actually touch the yarn and see the colors up close. I dyed 32 skeins specifically for the sale and only came home with ten of those - not too shabby! Plus the knitter and Cozette love was well worth the effort.

One of the Cozettes, Lisa, has a blog and did a post with some pictures. The most amazing thing was the line of ten or twelve women waiting outside before the sale started. I was tucked back in the "personal care" section and a whoosh of women went to the back where the yarn is - a few with LISTS of what they wanted to grab. I met lots of great knitters, was totally impressed by the mellowness of the Cozettes in the midst of fiber lust-filled customers, and have found a few of them on Ravelry (I love that).

Yesterday I took a day trip, after two soccer games in the morning, to the Rising Meadow Farm's Sixth Annual Farm Fest. I got to chat with Mary Ann Pagano of Three Water's Farm. Mary Ann taught me to spin and I bought my first wheel from her. In addition to beautiful fibers in several forms, she also makes goat's milk soap -
I bought ten bars as handmade soap is a weakness of mine. I also stopped in at the booth by Gate City Yarns and bought a featherweight Bosworth spindle. Under the same tent I found Iseespots Farm and bought a nice nostepinne and a maxi Bosworth - I know, that was pretty indulgent!

new toys

I also bought four "truffles" of moorit roving from Rising Meadow Farm. There were six different colors and it was hard to choose only two. Each truffle is 2 oz a piece.

moorit truffles

The food was also good. There were lamb and grass-fed beef offerings, drinks to benefit the local Girl Scouts ( a glass of cider, lemonade, or bottled water at $1 each)! Given that drinks are usually the thing that kill me at events I was flabbergasted and went back for some muscadine cider!

The stove has been on almost all day and thanks to the breeze, many of the rovings (superwash merino) are almost dry. One of the local knitters happened to notice some of my roving that had been spun into a lovely single by Mama Blue. Heart was one of my favorite rovings. This is what it looked like before it was gorgeously spun:


For some strange reason I was plagued by an inability to sleep well all week. I'm hoping cooler weather this week will help that situation.

Friday, August 29, 2008

MIddle school, lots of yarn, new smalls

The first week of middle school was kind of rough. Granted, we had an experience (as a family) a few years ago that rocked us to the core of our being and transition continues to bring it to the surface. One of the boys has been terrified every day of school while the other has been nervous, but dealing in a very brave way (this is EXACTLY the opposite of kindergarten, just for the record). There have been tears every morning, nightmares each night, a boy in my bed around five literally shaking with fear, and the horrid realities of motherhood: the ones where you are the hard ass. It's a hard one to balance, the mom of kindness and support and the mom of you-just-have-to-suck-it-up-cause-it's-life. I hate it.

For the past five years I've had a week off at work and my children have been in school. While that means I've made 140 mile round trip drives for each of those five weeks, it also means I've had time to myself while my kids are in school. This year the boys had their last week of vacation while I was off. I still had to drive 140 miles that week for school trips (Chicky's been back in school since mid-July), and since I hurt my ankle we couldn't do anything really fun, but it was nice spending time with the boys alone. I haven't gotten to do that since Chicky was born!

After a really crappy day at work and the middle school transition sadness I came home to find a box on my front stoop from my very dear friend Sarah. She and I have NEVER met in person, but we met through Ravelry and send messages as often as we can. We send boxes to each other every so often and when I opened mine, here's what I found:

Theytoldmesew lovelies

Let me just say that it is almost scary how well this woman knows me! Favorite colors, favorite weaknesses, and humor right up my alley! Her box absolutely made my day! The rovings are stunning as usual, and that is no small compliment. I've bought rovings that look good on-line but are dull and a mere shadow of their pictured selves when seen up-close and in person. The superwash Blue-Faced Leicester looks like fun to spin and the brilliant colors will shine through - I can't wait!

Before back-to-school week I dyed a lot of yarn and am still re-skeining it - I don't like buying skeins and having them tangled and I would hate someone cussing me while they try and make a center-pull ball. I have 22 done and ten more to go! All the yarn is headed for Cozy on September 7. Here's a sneak peak at some of the yarn.

we're headed to Cozy

At work we've begun a new session with new children and getting to know them is a great joy and emotional sacrifice. In order to get to know small children you need to build trust with them, which typically means letting them be sad for as long as they need to and comforting them so they realize that you are able/willing to do that for them. The good part is that when they are not sad getting to know them it is incredibly fun. Emotionally it can take a toll and my children know from being in my class while it was happening, as well as talking about it with me during each new session, that it can be physically exhausting as well. Since I haven't gotten much sleep this week from my own boys' anxiety, I'm hoping the next three nights will give me some time/space to rejuvenate and be have some fun on Monday with my children and be ready for other people's again on Tuesday.

I'm barely awake and would love to go read The Sotry of Edgar Sawtelle but I think If I did manage to keep my eyes open, I'd never remember what I had "read"!

Here's to good sleep and better dreams!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hip in Hemp

The skirt is finished! I love the Hempathy yarn and will knit another! Lovely hand and drape, holds it's shape nicely and has lots of ventilation! Perfection!!!

hemp skirt finished

Better pictures will follow soon. This one was taken balancing on my hurt foot while standing in front of a mirror propped on the sofa. Way too much going on at one time. If I trusted one of my children to hold the camera I'd let them take a picture. Notice the if.

The boys and I went to the Open House for their middle school, which starts next week and I have yet another list of school supplies to buy. I can't believe the list! I guess I should be pleased that they even need colored pencils, scissors, and a glue stick in sixth grade. The specific binders, composition books, calculators, etc. are wearing on me. They get to start band this year, too - very exciting. On Friday they go all day for orientation, we'll see how that goes!

I'm overwhelmed and it hasn't even started!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You never know until you try

I have found my dyeing muse! I feel like illustrator Stephen Gammel before he found "his" way of painting. I was happy with the dyeing, but now that I've found a technique that looks like I've been imagining it all this time I don't think I'll ever go back to dyeing in any of my "old" ways again! (As an aside, I love Stephen Gammel's illustrations - particularly his "own" style. Monster Mama is one of my favorites.)

Today was a very successful dyeing day! I have three new rovings up at Etsy and am busy dyeing yarn to sell at Cozy's Annual Yarn Sale on Sept 7. Deb and Margaret are allowing me to bring my wheel and spin in the shop and sell rovings and yarn on that day! I'm trying to remain calm about the whole thing, but I'm nervous.

Ok, the rovings. All are in superwash merino and are a combination of techniques. What I like best are the blending of colors and the sudden surprises of other colors. My favorite is called Too Blue because there's a lot of purple in it and purple is my all time favorite. For like the last twenty years or so.

too blue side

Then comes the green with other colors peeping through. This is Salad (I have run out of name ideas).


And the next - Heart - has the brown overtones.


The yarns are still drying or in process. The boys are amazed/horrified at how I can make this take all day. There are kettles on the stove right now and one of them came into the kitchen and said, "How long are you going to keep doing this?" Huh. Hadn't really given it much thought. Until I'm done?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What do you mean, "it's not broken"?

Hmmm. As you can tell my orthopedist visit was annoying. All this pain is apparently a strained tendon. There's still swelling and bruising and now I have thereputic exercises (with pain) and the boot for another 13 DAYS. FUCK! Sigh. I am a horrible patient, this is during my "vacation" when two of my three children are home and expect something FUN to happen, and I would like a little fun myself. Also, about three weeks before this accident I had been very much into exercising again and I feel myself melting back into blobness.

Despite foot pain I have been dyeing... and dyeing... and dyeing. I'm doing some over-dyeing which takes longer, but the results seem worth it. I've used up all my merino/tencel roving and have moved on to superwash corriedale and merino. The merino/tencel is so soft and silky, but frustrating to photograph because of it's lovely sheen. My favorite of the batch is Plums.


The superwash corriedale (the only dry one) is called Wild Side.

wild side

I've been spinning from the stash and found some blue-faced leicester from funky carolina. Yep, more bulky! The first skein is 81 yards with nine wraps-per-inch. Skein two is on the Turkish spindle as I type.

Purple/Green skein 1

Tonight I hope to finish the last twelve rows of the hemp skirt and begin weaving in the 300 ends. In addition to knitting, I'm cooking Jamie Oliver's Tomato and Sausage Bake. I got some beautiful heirloom tomatoes, local sausage, and crusty rustic bread. YUM!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hurt foot, well foot

I've been pretty quiet in blog-land, but in real life I've been doing stuff while I heal. It's tough, I tell you. I didn't succeed in meeting my goal for Le Tour de Fleece. I did not spin everyday. I did, however, rekindle my flame for spinning and have been having a very good time.

Two weeks ago tomorrow, the kids and I had just finished our library trip and were enjoying Loco Pops in town. When I went to step off the curb my Rainbow flip-flop slipped, my ankle twisted and I went down like a dead bug. After almost crying and NOT saying any of the words I wanted to, the kids helped me up and we went home. Luckily it was my left foot and Hazel is an automatic so I could still drive. When we got home and I was propped up on the sofa with pillows and ice I said to Chicky, "I don't think I even cussed ONCE when it happened." She said, "No mama, you didn't! I was impressed, if it had been Daddy he would've said all kinds of stuff!" The kids were fabulous and took good care of me.

Having some hideous experiences with emergency rooms in the past, I decided to live with the pain for the night and go to the orthopedist the next day. I did and the doctor said it was a Type 2 sprain. I guess they decide that by gently pulling on the ankle/leg and seeing how far apart the joint will go. Anyway, three x-rays, a prescription, and a boot later and we were out the door. Drugs, did I mention drugs were given too? I didn't go to work for the rest of the week, stayed well-iced and drugged and marveled at how long it takes a sprain to heal.

Two weeks later, it's still swollen and bruised (my toes look scary!) and it hurts to wear the boot, but since I work with small children and the idea of someone accidentally bumping it makes me cringe, I'm wearing the damned thing. Wednesday I go back to have another x-ray and see how it's healing.

The good news: while I was drugged and healing I got a new Turkish drop spindle from Jenkins. It's a purpleheart and I LOVE IT. I can sit on the sofa and spin forever!

jenkins purple-heart spindle

I spun some of my fiber from Sarah - Mountainscape. It was a dream to spin - I'm doing a whole bunch of bulky right now for a Danish shawl.

mountainscape bulky

I also spun one of my rovings, Spring Fling superfine merino and got enough fingering weight for a pair of socks.

spring fling spun

Then I went back to bulky happiness and spun up Frances Farmer superwash corriedale that I had left over.

frances farmer close-up

Right now there's some Blue-faced Leicester on the spindle, and my hemp skirt is about 50 rows shy of finished! Maybe I'll get to wear it before winter comes after all!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wheel's on Fire

Le Tour de Fleece has been inspiring! I finished Colorshow a couple days ago. It is spun thick/thin and it came out to 4 1/8 ounces, 166 yards, 11 WPI (average). I found it in my stash that I dyed a while ago. I'm fairly certain it's Falklands wool. colorshow colorshowskein I am not a novelty yarn kind of person, fluff, glitz, pom-poms, and ladders do nothing for me. So, it was kind of odd that I decided to ply my next spinning Monarch corriedale from with gold thread. My first skein didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, I was trying desperately not to over-spin the single (I didn't), but when it came time to ply with the S-twist it fell apart occasionally. The second skein I ran through the wheel an extra time to make sure there was enough Z-twist in it before plying. I don't have the stats for skein two yet because it's still drying, but here's a picture. skein2 I took some of my superfine superwash merino (Spring Fling) out of the Etsy shop to spin. It is smooth, fluffy, and glides quickly onto the bobbin. Almost done with the first half of the top, and have had to push myself to walk past the wheel to clean and do laundry. Some dyeing happened this morning. I'm in the superwash corriedale right now. They're baking in the back yard sun - 86 degrees and in a black plastic bag should put the temperature up to a reasonable temp for setting the dye. I love opening up dyed wool packets when they're done - it's like gifts!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Merrily spinning

I've been spinning for le tour!  I've finished Ember, but I didn't divide the roving evenly and ended up having quite a bit of the creamy part leftover.  I used that to ply with the leftover "random" spun. It has mellowed it quite nicely.

Ember (two skeins 260 yards)

ember spun

and the rest of the random (haven't measured it yet)

random with ember cream

Tonight I'm starting on some Pigeon Roof Studios   corriedale in the Monarch colorway. I don't have any pictures of the roving yet, I'll do that tonight and share tomorrow.  

The peeps and I went to the library this afternoon, so I have to go remind them it's time to start the nightly reading.  When they're done with their time, we're starting The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman for reading aloud.