Sunday, June 22, 2014

I am back! Plus, Fluff-to-Socks news.

After a long hiatus from blogland I have finally returned. Spring was ever so busy and all of the sudden here we are in Summer already! 
The pace of life quickens during the warmer months; we scurry and flurry our way through a myriad of things, be it get-togethers, gardening, or holidays. The calendar is dotted with parties, weddings, family functions, birthdays, church functions, showers... Last year was an exceptionally busy year and I wasn't able to take the time for some things that I needed to. My shop, for one, didn't get the attention it should have. And I felt frazzled and worn out by the time autumn rolled around. This year, however, I have been working on managing my time & obligations better and, while busy, so far I am not running myself ragged and into the ground. Which has been a huge blessing and relief. I love summer and it is nice to be able to just enjoy it and take time to reflect on the goodness of God.

But onward to the brightly colored socks and yarn in this post! Remember the Fluff-to-Socks spin-along and knit-along I told you about in a previous post?  Well, the above socks are my "entry" for said sal/kal. Those of us who participated in the sal/kal were given 3 months to spin the yarn, and 1 month to knit the socks. June being the designated month for knitting, I am picking these up whenever I can and squeezing in a row or two. They are quite vibrant, and will add a splash of cheer to grey and cold winter days. They probably won't go with a single garment I possess but no matter. They will be warm, and that's what matters.

Friday, April 25, 2014

From where I stand: Spring Randomness

It has been an interesting April thus far. We've had mud, ice, bare ground, hail, and snow....all within a two week period. But Spring is here at last, and it is here to stay. Resurrection Sunday was gloriously sunny, and so warm. We had all the relatives over after the morning service and we spent a beautiful day of fun, laughter, good food, and memories. Those seem to be the common themes that run through all our get-togethers. 
We had an al fresco lunch out in the fresh air (the first outdoor dining of the season) which seemed to heighten our appetites as fresh air often does. 
Now we are back to wind, and slightly chillier forecasts, with a few spurts of rain to look forward to. I don't mind too much though. If it were any warmer I would have wanted to be outside this week and since I was sick with a vicuous stray bug of some sort, gardening was quite out of the question. But I am just about better and now I am trying to squeeze more plans then is humanly possible into Friday & Saturday to make up for lost time. 

I've started rambling now so this is as good a time as any to sign off and save the rest for another day. Cheerio my friends! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Socks to Fluff (and other spinning news).

In the beginning of March I received two delightful fiber packages in the mail. First up is the Panda roving from Atomic Blue Fibers. Rest easy, unlike the name would seems to imply, it is not from a panda. Instead it is a merino/bamboo/nylon blend that is scrumptious to work with. Sayra's fiber is was high quality and worth every penny. Initially when I first started spinning this I had my wheel on the wrong ratio setting but after I corrected that the fiber just flew smoothly through my hands and turned into a gorgeous sock yarn. I still have about two ounces left to spin up. 
Near the end of March I heard about a sal/kal called 'fluff to socks'. The concept is simple: spin fiber, knit socks. There were, however, time frames and deadlines. To be eligible you must start and finish spinning your sock yarn anywhere between April 1st to May 31st. I was already concentrating on spinning two different sock yarns so to hear about the Socks to Fluff sal/kal and also realize that I started both projects on or after March 1st, well, I was thrilled to jump on board. It is always nice to participate in a spin-a-long. I 
am looking forward to seeing all the pretty handspun socks the other participants make.
But on to my second mail parcel. I purchased a set of art rolags from the sweet, Lise of TrezLise. Chock full of all different fibers, they were such a fun spin! Currently the yarn is not designated for any particular purpose but I amsure the perfect project with come along soon. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Looking Back: The first snow of 2013, Thanksgiving day.

Spring has finally arrived. For a long time it
felt as though it would never arrive. We had a beautiful winter, lots of snow and glorious curl-up-inside by the fire moments. But we also had bitter cold temperatures, ice, and astonishing wind chills. And constantly more and more snow. I never tired of it. I love to watch it fall. I love to be ouside in it. And I love to drive in it. But eventually we thought we were going to run out of places to put it before the long-looked for warmth of spring came. However winter is not forever; as long as the earth remains so shall cold, heat, seed time, and harvest. And slowly temperatures began to rise, birds who were migrating came back, and suddenly the snow was melting. Now, instead of snow, we have mud. Slick, greasy, clay mud. Instead of getting snowed in of a Sunday afernoon, we get stuck in the mud and have to wait for the cold night air to firm the ground up. Instead of picking our way across an icy drive, we have a series of boards criss-crossing the soupy mud. But I am grateful. Grateful that the snow has ceased, the promise of Spring is in the air and warm days are just around the corner.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pertaining to socks and yarn.

In my last post we talked about winter and the cold. That naturally led to my sock knitting. So here I am today, sharing the beginning of the 2014 sock journey. To start out, I first had to buy yarn. It was with no little shock that I realized  did not own a single skein of sock yarn. I have knit an odd pair here or there, but shawls are my real love so most yarn around here turns into a shawl at some point. 
I placed an order through Knit Picks for some Stroll Glimmer in the Kestrel colorway. I loved the sparkle of the yarn which, coupled with superwash merino and nylon, seemed a good yarn choice. Selecting a pattern was quick work. I've long admired Anne Hanson's Almondine socks and it just happened to be in the book I received for Christmas. While I do like the look of this yarn knit up, I do not like knitting with it. It splits and frays and snarls until I am quite ready to cry from sheer frustration. This is not a yarn I would recommend or use again.
Then a couple weeks ago I saw on facebook that the wool mill, Stonehedge, was having a yarn sale. I ordered a few skeins for socks. Sage and Lime were the colors, I believe. 
My latest sock stash acquisition was the lovely 'Honey Bear' sock yarn from Renee at Spun Right Round on Etsy. I was tempted to cast on right away. But for now I am trudging through the Almondine socks, patiently working heels in yarn that splits, and dreaming about my next sock project.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Winter is not forever

Around here we have had so much snow this winter! It has been staggering at times. More then one Sunday we woke to find that, although there had been no snowfall during the night, the driveway was packed deep with snow from blowing and drifting and we were snowed in until late in the day when we finally had it shoveled it out. It has been one snowstorm after the next and I have loved it! I enjoy snow, it is so beautiful and peaceful. We started out the year by going tobogganing with friends. And there has also been much shoveling, gorgeous sunsets, pink sunrises and crystal clear mornings, frosty photo shoots, and milking out in the barn during sub-zero temos. Which brings me to what I have not enjoyed about this winter: the bitter cold and the extreme windchills. A drafty farmhouse is not the ideal place to ride out a frigid winter. Over the years the house has shifted and settled, and there are new cracks and crevices for the wind to creep in. The house is also made of cinder block, without any insulation, so keeping warm is always an adventure. Thick socks (sometimes doubled) leggings, legwarmers, and multiple shawls are the usual attire on the especially cold days. 
It is at times like these when I wonder how it is I only own one pair of handknit socks. Yes, I do have ten shawls as they are my favorite thing to knit, but shawls do not keep one's toes warm. 
So this year I have decided to work on socks. I'm joining the other knitters who are participating in Operation Sock Drawer. Unlike many knitters I did not have a sock yarn stash to begin with (yes, I know, sock yarn isn't technically stash...) so I set about to remedy that. Nothing extreme, mind you, just a skein here and a skein there so I can knit several pairs this year. Thus far I have enough yarn on hand for three pairs, with one of those pairs on the needles. I would like to spin yarn for a pair or two as well. I'll keep you all posted on my sock adventures along the way. 

Late Autumn Snapshots from 2013: Part Two

There are still photos that I never got around to sharing with all of you. Winter arrived and has had us in it's icy grip for so long now. So for a change from winter here is a few late-autumn photos from last fall for you all. Lots of yellow and brown, but, oh so pretty.

There was a good harvest this past Autumn. Thinking back on it, I feel like it was so far away, yet at the same time, not so far away. Spring is just around the corner and there is a new planting season coming up. I am ddefinitely looking forward to the arrival of warm weather!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Late Autumn Snapshots

I'm still catching up on my blogging and past photos. Being absent the whole summer makes me feel like I'm scrambling to get back on track.
This particular batch of photos is not from any one day, but rather snapshots scattered throughout the autumn. 
The garden did well in most respects this year. We had a good corn crop, zucchini coming out of our ears and lots of butternut squash. The tomatoes were rather sad this year though. I think they had a touch of something because most of them were rotting before they even ripened fully. 
Because we had warm weather so late into the autumn it felt like the summer lasted for a long time. And that thrilled me.
I love all the seasons, they each hold their own charms, delights, activities and trials. But spring and summer have a special place in my heart because it is the time of year when I can be outside, as much as I want without the limitations that colder weather brings. There's is no bundling up in coats, warm socks, hats, mittens, cowls and boots to face the blustery, bitter winds for a quick run to the city or nearby post office before dashing back inside out of the cold. 
When it is warm I just walk outside, barefoot in the grass, to do chores, spin out on the patio, check on the garden, or just take a meandering little walk. I can be in nature and revel in all the glory that summertime brings. 
Cool summer evening, the tree frogs making racket high above, a blush of pink on the horizon as the last light fades. Early mornings with dew-drenched grass and having oatmeal and tea out at the picnic table in the front lawn. Taking walks before the heat of the day hits. Sinking toes in the cool earth, or walking across the hard, rain-deprived clay. Picking veggies and flowers on a quiet evening. Bonfires with friends and family. The cheerful crackle of logs and the chatter of voices. Trips to the lake, across the hot sand, cooling our feet at the end of the journey. Hiking in the still calm of the forest. Bicycling with the wind in my face. Climbing the bluff at our favorite cabin and smelling the crisp lake air. The sound of the wind blowing high above in the pine boughs. The smell of a freshly mowed lawn. Watching the sun rise....
I could go on and on. 

And maybe someday I will. As I have been typing this up the thought occured to me of jotting down my favorite things/memories/moments of each season. I'll probably write it down in my art journal, make it all fancy and splash on some watercolour. And then maybe I can share my thoughts on here. Or perhaps even photos of the actual project. 
Meanwhile, what's your favorite season? And why is it your favorite? I'd love to hear from you!

Up Next: Thanksgiving Snowfall