Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mom's House

Big News!   Mom has a signed contract on her house!   Yay!   It is an older couple, since they are coming with cash and no mortgage....the inspection is tomorrow and the closing is 2/12!    What that means is that we have until the 12th to clear out everything we haven't sold on Craigslist, to donate it, or box it up for a future garage sale.  

Luckily, I have a large basement, but it is currently full of stuff from both kids.   Why is it that each time they move out, they don't take their stuff....when they come home, they leave more stuff, and then don't take it with them when they move out again..   Younger daughter, Ali has given me permission to set a bonfire on the front lawn of everything she has left behind, but I don't think the neighborhood enforcement thugs would allow that!

My brother and niece are visiting this weekend, ironically, so I plan on this being a family event.   There is much memorabilia to go through, as well as trash to hurl.    We do have an appointment with a gentleman on Saturday who is going to look at Dad's rock and mineral collection so keep your fingers crossed.   If he doesn't take it, then I am afraid that we will just have to donate it somewhere where it will be buried in some basement or dump it out in the rocks of the outside landscaping..   I have rented a small cargo van to transport what we are keeping and Mom will get a dumpster for the trash and rusty tools.   What a shame that there have been no takers for some very useful household items.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Naked Fiber Club has arrived

Today's mail brought a fluffy package and I tore into it as soon as I got home. It is the first shipment of the Naked Fiber Club and inside were three plastic bags. The largest was 8 oz of raw fiber in rich shades of brown and bronze with distinct locks and the greasy lanolin feel of sheep.

But no tag was present, so I didn't know what variety it was. Checking into Ravelry I went to the forum thread to sleuth out what I could find out. Turns out it is a Rambouillet/Teeswater cross, but I am not sure what that actually means as to softness.
I guess I will find out soon enough: It is already soaking in a large plastic bucket in the garage. I figure a good cold water soak first should loosen most of the dirt and stinkiness, before I do the hot water wash to remove rest of the dirt and the lanolin. I understand from my reading that lawns and gardens LOVE the sheepy water left behind. If it sounds like I know what I am doing here, have I got you fooled, because this will be my first try at raw sheep's wool!!! I'm learning all I can from books, Ravelry, you tube!!! To be continued....

In a second small package is 2 oz of BFL, dyed in deep rich jewel tones.

And in the third was a real surprise, and I am not going to do anything with this until someone else tries it first. Guess what it is............

Give up???

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ta Da! The winning comments from my week long lead-in to my blogiversary are Nalamienea and Ria. I have Pm"d you both on Ravelry to let you know! I know you both have been regular followers and I really appreciate your support. Check out their blogs if you get a chance. Here is what I have selected to send them:

Both skeins weigh in about the same, but the sage green is a bit denser and less fluffy. On the top is 94 grams of CVM wool naturally dyed of osage and indigo and goes to Ria. The sage green is 100 grams of BFL from my large bump of Briar Rose Fibers roving and will be making its way to Nalamienea. Both are handspun by me! Enjoy and be sure to let me know what you knit up with them!

Today was another day of chopping ice....and still not finished. Late today I came up with a great idea. I boiled up a teapot of water and carried it out and melted some ice which worked a bit. I made about 6 runs with the teapot, but only made slight headway. Stay tuned, and I will let you know when the ice is finally gone in spring.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2nd Blogiversary- and weekly catch up

I can't put it off any longer, here is my Blogiversary post. Happy two years to me! It will be heavy on photos and covering many topics.

The Bride Flight Studios Finn fiber is finished. This is my first attempt at a "singles" yarn and I think it came out pretty well. The finished knitting weight is heavy fingering to sport, even though I thought when it was washed and thwacked, it would fluff up to worsted weight. Not sure what it will be yet as I am still waiting for it to whisper it to me.

January is always a tough time for me. The holidays are over, the days are still short and temperatures outside are cold. This year is no exception and with me now working full time and Gary recovering from back surgery, we have not been able to be as diligent about keeping the sidewalks clear as in previous years. The house faces northeast and is a two story flanked by huge spruce trees. The net result is that snow and ice do not melt until spring if it is not attacked with tremendous effort.
Do you see the yard across the street? Clear of snow...... Fortunately that neighbor has been helping us out with his snow blower all winter. But this year, the crown of the street has made the ice flow onto our sidewalks and now it is about 3" thick in two large sections. Today I spent hours chopping water flow paths to the storm drain. And tonight it will all freeze again, making this a futile exercise.......again. I did this last weekend as well.
Here is a shot of the plant I thought I had killed this fall, but lives again. Each bunch of leaves is a source of joy and hope for my soul!
I finished the hat to match the handspun Alpaca mittens. It is a simple watch cap and should be warm and toasty for the lucky head that gets it.

New fiber from JulieSpins arrived this week and the color is so rich and regal. The fiber is Falkland and the color is Magenta Madness.

This is my 3rd pair of socks made with Patons Kroy Stripes which is available at the the big box craft stores and inexpensive.
Just because it is inexpensive, I didn't want to love this yarn as much as I do, but I can't help it. It makes a nice beefy sock which is super soft and the colors are bright and interesting. I have developed a slightly snobby attitude toward yarns and where I buy them, but yes, I will keep buying this yarn for basic socks, especially for giving away, since the washability is good.

More plant goodies: My hibiscus plants which lived outside on my back patio during the heat of the summer were brought in before the freeze, with the hope of just keeping them alive until spring. The peach flowered one was small enough to keep in the bay window, and the red flowered one was tall enough to live on the floor. Not only are they surviving, they have sent forth their first blooms since fall. More hope and joy for the soul.

Hope and Joy.... in a week of devastating photos and stories from Haiti. Be generous with your donations and take joy in what you do have as you give hope to those in such dire circumstances. My problems are minor in comparisons. I have food, I have shelter, I have medical care, and I know where all my family is.

Give to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Doctors without Borders, major religious organizations. Give till it hurts as they say, because it may just help ease the unbelievable hurt a little bit.

And thank you for reading my blog, if this is the first time or one of many times. Your comments and encouragement keep me going. Leave a comment and there will be a drawing for one of my handspun yarns, to be decided by me when I get the chance to dig through the pile tomorrow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

And another thing.....

From the comments so far, it looks like I have good reason to continue! I wasn't going to quit, but it is nice to be validated to continue! Keep those comments coming!

I looked at my blog as well, in this time of reflection and I ask you......Am I fighting middle age still, or am I fending off old age? I am referring to my banner at the top of the blog and now that this is the year I turn 60 ( I only feel 30.....of course, I use to say I felt 19) does my banner need a new subtitle????

Update on the bench and vanity from Mom's house: After all the research, I realized what we had in our possession, so I took the bench to be reupholstered, and talked to the gentleman there about the possibility of stripping the paint off the vanity and refinishing it as well. The bottom line was that the vanity would cost about $2400 to strip and refinish and there would be NO guarantee that he could restore it to the original beautiful mahogany finish since he had no way to determine how the piece was prepared for the paint back in the 60's. So I had to let it go for a pittance, but it is now sold to a nice young family who knows the treasure they may have if they put a little sweat equity into it.

As for the bench, this is fabric I purchased:

and since I am not paying to refinish the vanity, I decided to have the wood restored and finished as well as the upholstery replaced. Not cheap, but as my brother told me, it is a significant family keepsake.

I knit a second pair of mittens from the handspun alpaca
and now have started on a simple watch cap.
Maybe I'll add a stripe to the top of the hat for interest. I could use black or ivory for contrast. I'll have to see how that develops as it is knit up. So from 10 oz of raw fiber, at least 3 project sprang forth. Not bad....

And I am spinning. I finished a beautiful Merino from JulieSpins in the color: Canada (Photo courtesy of Julie)
which I navajo plied into a nice worsted weight

and I am now working on a Finn fiber from Bride Flight Studios
in the color: Oracle of Delphi. (Photo from her Etsy site) It is so soft and inviting. At spinning group last Sunday I was told that since Finn has a long staple, it makes a nice single ply yarn, so that is my goal so far.

Every time I checked her shop, it was empty, but I lucked into this one.
Timing is everything, and I will be checking again often, as all the sold colors were gorgeous.

There's more, but I don't want to spill it all out at once.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I thought I missed it!

I looked at the calendar today and thought my blogiversary slipped by, but is still coming up on the 16th. That will make two years in the blogging world, two years writing about knitting, of Ravelry, two years of spinning and two years of friends, family and new readers who have shared this adventure with me. It is still a week (give or take a day or two) away, so help me celebrate by reading through the archives and let me know what you still want to hear about.

There have been a few postings by other bloggers that blogs are "so yesterday" and no longer relevant, but how else can I track my life chronologically with words and photos and share it with you at the same time. How else can I focus on the good stuff (mostly) in my life, and have a perfect escape from the stress and anxieties of life? Are you reading blogs as regularly, are you posting in your own with the same frequency? Leave me a comment between now and the 17th and share a few thoughts on the matter. A prize awaits ( undecided at the moment) for a random poster or two. Thanks in advance for sharing in my world!