Saturday, July 20, 2019

Tall Tales

Remember this? This is what my poor side yard looked like last winter.  It took forever to clear all the branches so we could get to those giant trunks. The two trees on the right are gone now but the rest are still laying there because it's too hot and buggy to go out there and work in the summer.

 Yesterday I had just fallen asleep in my chair for an afternoon nap when a loud crash woke me up. It shook the house. I knew that sound. I've heard it too many times before. One of our giant trees split in half and for no reason whatsoever came crashing down taking some other smaller trees with it........

 ....right on top of the pile of trees we still had laying there. Argh. Our big mess is now a much bigger mess. We are going to have to start all over at clearing that new giant pile of brush.

Then there is this. That is my side yard right next to the house. With the trees gone, the sun shines on the spot so the weeds have taken over. I warned The Mister. I said he needed to mow it and he thought I was crazy. Those weeds are waist deep and are going to have to stay that way until next winter. It's full of poison ivy and creepy varmints. Ugh.

I was just telling The Mister that when we get that area sorted out this winter we need to plant pine trees to kill all those weeds.  I love pine trees. We did that in the front and it worked great. Nothing grows under pine trees and they never seem to just want to fall over. Strangely enough, that very same day this candle showed up from Karen In WI. It smells so good. I can't even tell you how amazing it is. I love pine and this is the best pine scent ever. I never thought of making pine soap but now I think I am on a mission.
Thanks Karen!!!!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Ikea Meet Up

Yesterday I got to spend the day in an Ikea I don't usually get to visit. It's the one in Virginia.

 I needed to go check out some kitchen things before I make any final decisions on the remodel.

 I think I want this one minus the big lights. After the last light hanging adventure I am done changing out lights. I really want this big island. My little one is not doing it for me anymore.

The good thing about Ikea is that there are plenty of little nooks that are perfect for a good chat and that's just where I spent the afternoon.

I met a bloggy friend to exchange goodies. She filled my hatch with her Handwoven magazines and I handed her a bag of soapy things. I know I've said it a million times but my bloggy friends are the most generous people I have ever met. I couldn't do half the things I do if it weren't for you guys.
Thanks Eliza M for suggesting the meet up and the magazines!!! It was so much fun!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Back on the Road

 My not so restful rest day was over in a flash and yesterday I was back to spinning along with the Tour.

 Every year I dig out my spindle collection and remind myself why I love them so much.

 Then I pack them away until next year which makes no sense. Maybe I need to keep my little spinning nook set up in the living area all the time. It's pretty much just me and The Mister anymore so who really cares what the place looks like.

I never did get much knitting done yesterday but I did get the skeins balled up for the Northern Lights hat. This is going to be quite the yarny adventure. This is some pretty wonky handspun.

I need to remind myself that this is what it looked like when I started. It was a fleece named Finley that I washed four years ago. The fact that it turned into yarn at all is pretty much a miracle.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

With the Greatest of Ease

 I was really looking forward to getting some knitting done on the Tour's rest day but The Mister had other ideas.

 Ever since I brought this giant ceiling light home from my last Ikea outing we've been fighting over the best way to hang it. I wanted to rent a scaffolding from Home Depot, he wanted to play Cirque du Soleil aerialist and hang off a ladder.

 I no sooner had sat down to knit when he decided to see if he could prove me wrong. He was just going to see if the ladder would reach. Yeah, sure.

 The next thing I know he's ripping down the old, dusty ceiling fan.

 The two things I hate about home improvement are heights and electricity. I'm pretty much game for anything but they both make me nervous. So nervous I devoured half a bag of the chips The Mister had just brought in from the store while I was trying to figure out online what to do with the red wire. Hint: it's for the wall switch.

To make a long story short, he did prove me wrong. It could be done. It wasn't fun. I had to balance the light on the end of a broom with one hand and hold the ladder with the other but it's up. I think it needs to go up a few notches on the chain but I'll tell him that another day. I need to recuperate. My nerves are shot.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Tiny Needle Tuesday

 With all the Tour de Fleece and soap making activity going on around here not much stitching is getting done. I did get Miss Patience and her baby finished. The big flower they sit under will have to wait.

Right now my tiny needle focus has been to get this done. Last week I got one whole row of blocks sewn on and now I only have one more row to go. I really, really, really want to see the end of this so at the moment it's eating up all the free time I have to give.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Fall Soap

 Doesn't that look like an ice cream sundae? I wish it was but it's soap. I was on an ice cream kick while I was binging Stranger Things 3 and now it's all I can think of.

 If you want fall soap you have to make it in the summer. That's Oatmeal, Milk and Honey in the pot and Honeycrisp on the drying rack behind it. It took me several tries to get apple soap right last year. This year I nailed on my first try. Thank you Nurture Soap. They have the best behaved apple fragrance.

That's Pumpkin Oud getting ready to go in the heat box I rigged up. That's Autumn Equinox behind it on the drying rack. They both smell so good.

I was nervous about making soap after my last fail when the soap cooled too quickly and then only partially gelled meaning it had an ugly ring in the middle. I made this contraption to keep it warm in the AC out of a cooler and a heating pad. So far, so good. I shouldn't be saying that because I am pretty sure I just cursed myself, but all four batches have come out great so far. Knock on wood.

Sunday, July 14, 2019


 I should be showing off my new weaving project but I'm not. Weavers, you can see in this photo that things are not going as they should be. The right side is going well, the left, not so much.

 Thank goodness I didn't take the lease sticks out before I noticed my boo boo halfway through threading the reed. I had missed a thread right in the middle of threading the heddles. I've never done that before. I'm not sure how I didn't notice it. The loom sits right at eye level with my spinning wheels, you'd think I'd have seen it hanging down.

Of course with this particular draft it really wouldn't have mattered if I had just clipped it off and forgot about it. I wish I had thought of that before I pulled half of it all out. Trying to play catch up has been slow and awkward. Argh....

Saturday, July 13, 2019


 It's no secret that I love to knit dishcloths. I always have one on the needles.

 During the last Tour I spun some cotton to see if I could get enough for a dishcloth.

I did manage to spin a small ball in spite of it being a really hard spin. The problem is that the yarn is too soft. It's a very drapey cotton. It would make a nice garment but there's no way I'm spinning enough of it to do anything more than a dishcloth with it.

Having said all that, I'm spinning more this year. Maybe I'll try weaving with it?

Friday, July 12, 2019

Friday Felines TdF Edition

We went shopping yesterday morning to beat the heat and when I got back I caught up with the first re-run of the Tour. 

 Kitty and I discovered that the sun comes in the skylights around 1 in the afternoon. I was blinded by all that light but kitty loved it. She's at my feet whenever I spin. I'm not sure why but she loves to watch.

 In that bright sunlight I could get some decent photos of my work so far. This is Targhee.

I bought this gradient set last Tour but it arrived too late to use. I'm going to spin each braid separately and then use it for some colorwork.

 This is the California Red fleece I washed last spring. It's a pretty decent spin considering I washed it.

 Then there is Dirty Nora. She was the filthiest fleece I ever bought. She's a Shetland and it's been a bit of a slog spinning and picking out icky stuff.

I should have tossed her but look at that face. I owe her at least a bobbin or two. Baaa......

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Three Bins Full

 You'll have to excuse my lack of enthusiasm for the Tour de Fleece this year and this is why. I have three big bins of handspun already taking up room in the closet. Having said that I assure you I am spinning. I'm just not working on anything very interesting.

 I did find something in those bins that might work with my fresh off the wheel skein that needs to be a larger Hitchhiker. I'm not completely convinced. I'll have to give it some thought.

 I also found this from last year's Tour already kitted up for a shawl. Do I start that instead? Decisions, decisions....

I also found this also kitted up from last year's Tour. This is supposed to have been a hat but it's not. It needs to be. I don't need to be spinning. I need to be knitting.

You know I never ask for anything in return for the soap I send you but I am always gobsmacked at what shows up here after every giveaway.  I need to thank Michelle for sending me this gorgeous doily. I can't crochet worth beans so I am always in awe when hooky folks send me their little masterpieces. Isn't it pretty? I love the card too. Thanks again, Michelle!!

And then there's this. Dee from Ohio sent me this book that was written and illustrated by her SISTER. It's the sweetest little book full of homespun stories and drawings that show such a keen appreciation for the simple things in life. It's a lovely little book meant to be treasured-read and re-read.
Thanks so much Dee!!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Mystery of Tangles

I finally finished these socks. Look at how much yarn I had left. I had to go check my measurements thinking I did something wrong. Nope. It just must have been a generous skein.

 With no socks on the needles I had to go stash diving. I have so much to choose from. I love my sock yarn stash.

 I decided that these will be the next two on the needles but I was worried about winding it up. I have had no luck lately. My yarn cakes have been a tangled mess.

 I got out my new replacement winder and instead of using the handle as I usually do I hooked it to the table.

 It helped to have a free hand but on the first wind I had a mess. I went slowly so I could see what was going on and I noticed that some of the loops were wrapping around the bottom of the center cone and didn't think much of it. This is what happens when they do. Now I know not to let the yarn do that.

 The next time around I paid close attention to where the winding was happening. If it looped at the top or the bottom of the center cone I stopped, took it off and re-wound it. I also used my free hand to create a bit of tension. That helped keep the yarn wrapping where it should.

It was tedious but I do like a center pull cake so I guess it's a small price to pay for getting it right.

And then there was this.  The next morning while spinning along with the Tour I think I had an a-ha moment. When I was winding off the last bits to make a plying ball I noticed that I didn't have a bit of an issue with the winder. In spite of being wound from some highly energized singles there wasn't a tangle anywhere in it. I was able to use up every last inch. I am starting to think the problem is not the winder at all. This is actually the old one. I think the problem is my swift. When I wind off of the smooth rolling bobbin that is on my lazy kate I had no issues whatsoever. No skipping. No jumping. No need to rewind.  I wondered if you can oil a swift?

I couldn't but I did wax it by rubbing a sheet of wax paper down the shaft and voila. A perfectly wound ball with no skips or weird loops. Sweet.