Monday, September 27, 2010

Socks and Yarn, Yarn and Socks!

So how's the marathon posting?? It's amazing how much one can accomplish when there are no distractions. Does this mean I'll be better about blogging on a regular basis? I make no promises, that's a sure way to entice life into going utterly upside down.
The garden didn't go well this year, so what I've been putting up has been what I can get in bulk. Apples are on the list this week, but it's given me more time to indulge in other things.
Like socks.
No, I don't spend my afternoons lolling around in large piles of does paint an interesting picture though, doesn't it?
I'm talking about the knitting of socks. Currently there is a box on the other side of the country, it's waiting for some wool that I sent over a couple of weeks ago. There are some very nice people (okay, I'm paying them to do it) that are going to turn said wool into fluffy roving. However, that means I need to keep myself occupied until my box comes back. In other words, I need to find ways to not pester the nice people at the wool mill.
This could take an additional outlay of monies. In fact, it did! For the first time, I indulged in sock yarn. (do you know how hard it is to justify buying yarn when you can spin it?!)

To make this clear. I'm slightly obsessive about knitting socks, when I sit down to do it. They can be fairly addictive in the best of circumstances! Usually fine until I get half way through the leg, then it's just a ways to the heel, of course once the heel is finished may as well turn it. Then it doesn't take that long to work the gusset, that would be a good stopping point...yes? Once the gusset is finished, however, you're just about finished with the foot. After all, the foot is half stockinette and it goes very quickly. Well since you're just about finished with the foot, may as well just put a fork in it and work that toe really quickly. Since sock A is finished, you really should at least work the cuff of sock B, this will help prevent second sock syndrome. Before you know it, it's been a couple of days laundry is starting to morph into a new life form and the family has decided that self-sufficiency really isn't all it's cracked up to be. So, while I'm usually pretty good about working socks into life instead of the other way round....there are those days and those patterns.

Off I went to websites. Online is my only option for this since I have become a yarn snob. I wouldn't say this is a bad thing, I know for a fact I would get in more trouble if I were able to walk around a store.
First stop, Paradise Fibers. They're "local" for me (local has become a relative term) and I like that they support many of the fiber people in the area. A hot cup of coffee, slippers and dinner in the crock pot ('cause I've learned sometimes it just doesn't pay to fight it). One of my reasons for looking at sock yarns, is superwash wool.


Oh, let me enlighten you. Machine washable.
Yes, wool that you can wash, cold water please, in the machine and it's not going to shrink down to super midget size!
*Pausing for the sunbeams and heavenly choir scene*
(No, I've stopped worrying about my mental state, it's easier to just sit back, relax and go with it)

Okay, back to my mouse clicking fun and coffee. I'm downsizing my standard sock needle size again and have decided to play with size 1's. For those of you unfamiliar with knitting needles, these are perhaps a micron larger than shaved toothpicks. That's a possible exaggeration of sorts and it probably doesn't help that my current set is only 4" long. Never fear! I have another set coming in another box (here today maybe?) that is longer, that box also contains Sock Innovations....I'm digressing slightly, just slightly.
That means that I'm opening up options with yarn. Oh the joy! Now, remember I have that box waaaay over in Michigan. Right? So, straight up wool, well I've got that covered. Why not play with something new? Can we Of course we can, in fact, lets! Yes, silk content would be wonderful.
An hour ambles by without much notice. Shhh....I'm doing my best to drown the monitor in drool. It would give Justin a reason to buy a larger monitor, I do my best to be an accommodating spouse you know. I've played at Paradise, KnitPicks and a couple others. The result of my daytime clicking?


What?! It doesn't make you do that? Pfft. Okay, so here's the run down and what's happening so far.
From Paradise Fibers:
Jojoland Melody Superwash in Blues and reds & Red, Green and More. Straight up and down superwash wool.

Here's the Red, Green and More working up in the Pomatomus pattern.
Yarn: Definitely a yarn for size 1s. Varigated over all, but the strands are also varigated. Soft, fine, just a pleasure to knit with IMO.
Pattern: Knit on the recommendation of a friend. Love it! This is not a pattern to work when life is distractive. However, it's texture rich and hypnotic.

Imagination Hand Painted - Lullaby color way, 50% Merino, 25% superfine Alpaca, 25%Nylon.

This is the Imgainiation Hand Painted, working up Froot loop for a KAL (knit a-long) on Homesteading.

Stroll Tonal - Kindling and Foliage - 75% Superwash Merino and 25% Nylon.

Stroll - Merlot Heathers - 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon.

Gloss - fingering weight - Parsley (on clearance) and Jade - 70% Merino, 30% Silk

That is the result of my foray into the online sock yarn world. While there's not much silk in that box, the Superwash is going to help make life a little simpler.
Shameless KnitPicks people just sent out another magazine and I have spied a couple of color ways that I would really, really like to play with. Fortunately, the holidays approach. I don't need to keep it all, it's the playing and watching how it works up that I really enjoy. The Jojoland yarns...well those will stay in my sock collection.

Amongst all the sock play, I went to retrieve the leavings of the mailman one fine fall afternoon and found a package. It was squooshy, with a familiar hand on the front and a llama. (I knew she'd find a way to send me her llama!) Children swarmed, packages always cause this reaction and knowing from whence it came they were eager to see.

The pattern is Jeeves. The yarn Sensations Bamboo & Ewe, Turquoise Multi.

This is a woman who can knit socks! They fit like a dream and have been keeping my toes toasty in this new fall chill we've had. Such a wonderful, out-of-the-blue surprise!!

There's my latest fiber fix. Now if I could just learn to read while I knit! There are those out there, who can do this. I'm not one of them. Yes, I've tried, no it wasn't pretty.

Off to play with Pomatomus!
(I think it might be a good idea to back off the coffee just a smidge as well.)

Are words necessary?

Nope...I think the tongue says it all.

Catching up

The days are turning crisp, apple harvest is coming in and it's time to start bedding the farm down for the winter. Justin had vacation the end of August which helped this process immensely!
The tractor was sweet talked into running. The pastures mowed into submission. The weather was just beautiful! Ah! We also found most of the irrigation heads again! a good thing.

Bossy here, thinks the tractor is going to eat her. Not really, but it's a fun game to play! Personally I think it looks painful the way her udder flops around while she's frolicking, but she sure does have a grand time. This was also the day we discovered that she's NOT bred. Made a mental note that the full moon heat cycles are the ones to aim for.

Fall is in the air

With Fall comes fair time! I love fair, it's the most crazy, hectic, "which way did he go, George?" time of the year. This year, however, it was not meant to be. Wednesday is the night that life begins for fair. It's the night that animals and exhibits arrive. On this night I had 4 children draped, curled or huddled on the various seating areas with glassy eyes, moaning voices and high fevers with no sign of breaking.
The inanimate entries were taken down, the living and their respective humans stayed home.
We did make it down Saturday to walk the grounds, see the results, etc. Lars did score a Sumatra cockerel for next year. Very pretty boy at that.....and he knows it.

So here they are, the entries requiring nothing but viewing.

Leif's Pelican.
Youth, non-kit division. It's a space troop transport ship. He's already working on his design for next year.

My entry, hand spun, hand knit division. Not the best display, but the sweater is super warm and comfy! This is yarn that I worked with earlier this summer from Huck.

These were my mom's entries. Grand Champion, can't beat that! can't. The beads on that necklace are paper beads that I played with earlier this summer as well. I'm glad she worked them. They turned out the most interesting color combination, but it had me baffled as to what to do with it!

Next year's plans are in the works. It's good!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Invisible Children

As I was dashing through my first caffeine hit this morning, the pieces finally fell into place. For years now, the clues have been there all along and yet somehow I failed to see. Perhaps because it's difficult to believe that which we cannot see. The only evidence of existence is subtle (or sometimes as subtle as an atom bomb) change. I can't really say why this dawning is so slow in coming, only that it is come.

I have two other children. The only information that I have of them is their names and the change that they create. From the information and clues that have been left, I believe that they are twins (one of each). Their ages, place of birth, etc are all unknown. So without further ado, I will introduce them to you.

Nautmi and Idano.

My other 5 have been fully aware of them for some years now, I can't say why no one really clarified this point to me.

"Who left the lego mine field in the hallway?"
"Who left the peanut butter mess on the counter?"

"How did that sweater and hanger get 20 ft up that tree?"
"Why is it up there?"
(Now I'm not sure why Idano wanted that sweater and hanger up in the tree like that, or how Nautmi got it there or looking for all the world like it belonged there, but I would really appreciate an explanation....took me forever to undo their work!)

I also realized, I really can't be too hard on them for causing such mischief and mayhem in the house. No birthday cakes, no Christmas presents. I'd raise a little cane too if I were them! They're highly intelligent, of that I'm sure. It takes quite a feat of engineering to get a wad of wet toilet paper that probably weighs a 1/2 lb to defy gravity and stick to the bathroom ceiling like that! You'd need just the right force and momentum. Too much and it splatters, not enough and it will simply fall to the ground again.
The one that neither Justin nor I have been able to figure out was how they managed to get the Winnie The Pooh figure THAT far down into the toilet S. It took all our strength and cunning to get it out again. You really need to admire feats like that.
They play well with the other children, have good appetites, good hygiene practices and really are the quietest of the bunch, albeit a little messy. So all in all, we proceed as normal. It does feel good to have this settled though.

(Don't worry, I've been concerned as well about my sanity for some time now. ;)
Do you think the hubby and children would think I've completely lost if I asked them to tell Nautmi or Idano to come see me so we could discuss their misbehavior?)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Animal Cornucopia

We're getting fairly varied (say that 10 times fast) these days in the animal department. The farm cycle is running very well, now it's down to fine tuning for optimum performance. I hadn't really thought of all the critters that come around that aren't part of your standard idea of a farm, until this morning that is.

This winter brought a little mouse to the barn. Why do I mention the mouse? Well because for about a week, he'd pop his head out of the hole and get a milk squirt or two...thus Milk Mouse. Do I really know if it's the same mouse, have no idea....but it's Milk Mouse and probably always will be. I hadn't seen MM for some time and figured Fluffy had, had herself a nice milk raised mouse for dinner. Come this morning...MM shows up, gets a couple drops of milk and is off running back to it's hole. There's a nice smile in the morning (I realize it's a rodent, but I like mice, not rats, mice...and not in the house, I realize I'm being picky). Milking finds it's rhythm, Amy starts dozing, calf is snarfing for any missed bits of grain. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a bird staring at me. I peek under the boards and there's a couple of birds scratching around to see what there is to see. MM comes out to see what's afoot and starts doing the same. So there I sit, with a barn full of critters, wild and domestic, on a warm, sunny morning...just enjoying the show.

You have to love moments like that.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Natural Beauty

I have an affinity for naturally colored wool and fiber. While adding color and the dyeing process is very enjoyable, the natural colors have a beauty all their own. If I wanted to analyze this, I can probably trace this back to the fact that my first fleece was a Jacob. On a recent rabbit excursion, some wool (sans sheep) managed to jump in the Suburban and come home with me! One woman willing to travel, one woman with a generous spirit and enough cargo space to accommodate has started my Private Reserve.
That ostentatious title is how I'm tricking my brain into being okay with not giving it all away. So, shhh, so far it's working. Aside from the color, there's a nice new range of breeds I haven't spun before. This will in turn help me decide which direction to go with animals....should I choose to accept the mission (hmmmm...what do you think?)

Back to the wool that followed me home. 100% fun.

I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure this is from a sheep named Jill. This was an introduction to spinning in the grease.

It's a family tradition to have issues with I'll blame it on genetics. He's next on the play list...I think.

Montadale cross/Jacob
I'm biased, I'll admit it. It's a first love thing.
I spent almost 2 weeks basking in the heathery pleasure of this wool. My free time was dedicated to it.

Carded (there was a wool explosion in the kitchen while I accomplished this) and turned into roving.

All spun up! This just tickles me. There's the color for one, but it's bulky weight. I spun fat yarn that isn't going to take a lifetime to work up into a sweater. It came out pure sproing and squoosh.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day!

Bad, bad me for not keeping up with the blog. In playing the catch up game, I'm splitting it up into a couple of entries.

May Day!

I can't believe it's here already! Spring has arrived in all it's green and color. Garden beds are ready for planting when the time comes. Amy is back out on pasture and the steer is weaned.

Recap start:

I was able to get some gifts knitted this year with some of the handspun I've done. These two scarves are a pattern called Column of Leaves, the top was for Great-grandma Weigel, the next for my mom.

Christmas also started off a tad early, 5 am to be exact, due to a vocal little puppy. Jager is a red Golden Retriever....who retrieves very well, whether you want him to or not.

After a fun and food filled Christmas Day.

Seamus was less than pleased for a time, but figured out we don't love him any less...even if he has a stinky ear.

Amy decided to play ping pong with her abomasum again and we ended up having to tack it down surgically. She's now giving 4-5 gallons of milk a day, we're happy, pig is happy, chickens are happy...calf is unhappy that he was cut off.

January also brought the rebirth of the green Suburban and a conga line of trips to the car doctor. You know you've been spending too much time there when they start giving you price breaks out of sympathy. It's a place best left unexplored if at all possible.
It also brought Lars's birthday and mine. His last pre-teen year, I'm going to ignore the ever present shadow camped out under his nose...for one more year.
He's having a great year, has a teacher that likes to play Big Band during study times in class. Sweet!

March brought the death of my dryer. It had a good run, but did not go out sounded possessed. So we have a pretty new dryer, that has no idea of the endless toil it's been sold into.

I'm being sent to retrieve caffine, so it's a good time to wrap this up for now!