Monday, June 30, 2014

2014 TdF Countdown

 The Tour de Fleece is now only days away so it has been of major importance to get the wheels cleared of any lingering projects. Mission accomplished.

The last project to be completed was this mismatched set of bobbins that I was spinning for an experiment in plying. I started this ages ago and lost interest.

 It started with this really crazy roving that I have in my ancient fiber stash. No, I didn't dye it. It looks like something I would do but it isn't. I actually bought this way back when I was first learning to spin.

 I took the wild and crazy stuff and plied it with the plain green merino to see what would happen.

 I had my doubts but I think I like it. I can't wait to knit with it but it must wait until I get my WIP's under control.

 While I was washing and thwacking that newly spun yarn, I re-skeined the naughty Merino and gave it another bath hoping to tame it a bit. It was just too bouncy to be reliable.

Hoping to avoid any more surprises, I even took the precaution of hanging them under some serious tension until they were partially dry. It's a good thing I don't have any neighbors in the back. I can't imagine what they would think I was doing.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Shabby Chic Fail

 Most of my quilting projects go unused and stashed away but for some reason this really old one from the late 70's got used to death-and then stashed away. It is full of rips and stains and looks like it belongs more in the trunk of a car than on a bed. I was about to trash it when I had the idea to put it to some use.

 After sewing up all the rips in the seams, I could use it to practice my terrible machine quilting. I had nothing to lose and I had a light summer blanket to gain.

My machine stippling is pretty terrible so I could use the practice and the quilt could use the stability of it. I had originally only tufted the thing here and there and it literally is falling apart.

 All was going pretty well, I thought, until one morning when everything was flying along better than usual. No pulling or tugging. The machine and I were like one-until I turned it over and realized that the ease of quilting was due to my not putting the presser foot down. The back was a giant mess and I'm talking a good two feet or more of it.

 I had to take it out on the deck in the morning sun where I could see to pull it all out.

 Before I knew it, I had the old stuff out.....

 ...and the new stuff back in.

 The silver lining to this disaster is that I learned to repair as I go which saves time. The machine acts like a much appreciated third hand.

I also learned to jack up that darning foot so I have less pull on the fabric. Even with my fancy slider thing underneath, I was getting too much exercise from just a few minutes of stitching each day. I just wound the thing with some yarn and now it moves freely with just a little help from me. Ta da.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A New Way to Dye

 Before anyone starts dyeing anything here, lets go back to the source.

 This filthy stinky pile of icky poo is a Merino fleece from the 2013 MDSW. I pulled it all out the other day and let it air out in the sun. It's getting a bit ripe.

Before I could haul out the dye, the locks must be washed first so I took a deep breath and dug in.

 Once I had several trays of clean, white locks I could dump dye on them.

 All last summer I had been dipping those locks into warm dye one at a time and it took forever. It only took me an entire year to figure out an easier and quicker way to do this. Splash and squish.

 I used the same heating method as last year. A minute or two in the microwave heated them up sufficiently for the dye to exhaust after a short rest period.

 A rinse and a quick spin and it was a done deal.

 Now I've got bags and bags of blue locks....

 ...waiting to be snipped and snapped for spinning.

 My house looks like a wool processing factory when it's raining. I'm also still washing the Shetland but not having any dye fun with it-yet.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Round of 16

 Whew....we made it through to the next round of play. It wasn't pretty but it is what it is.

My sad little Pleated Kerchief has been my companion during almost each and every game so far but honestly, I have to force myself to put on four rows during each half. I'm just not feeling it for this project but I am determined to soldier on.

I have hopes that it may turn into one of those projects that I hated to knit but I love to wear. I have no predictions as to what's coming next for Team USA with all these spectacular opponents ahead but it being the World Cup, I do believe-anything can happen.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

You've Got to Be Kidding

 The Elizabeth is finally starting to look like a sweater. I was starting to wonder.

 Of course there is a major glitch. I have that more front facing to knit and...

...only this much yarn.'s always something.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Back in Business

 During the Pup's convalescence, we had all the furniture piled up in a corner to keep her from jumping. The loom also had to go to make room.

 I was in the middle of this project and it was good to get it uncovered and dusted off.

 I had to start out by winding another bobbin and it was no joy.

As much as I love to play with string, spending this much time to get this poorly wound bobbin is not cutting it. I need to get a real bobbin winder but good golly, they are expensive.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I went out on the deck this morning to take a picture of the row I had just finished on one of my blankies.

The problem was is that this kitty kept photo bombing every shot. She's not mine. Since last winter she's been showing up from time to time for a free meal. She walks right in the house like she owns the place.

I was also trying to show that I had finished another side of the orange border on the mosaic blankie and talk about the drama I had with the cables.

 I looked down one day to notice the entire end had broken off and lots of live stitches were sitting in my lap. You don't ever bind anything off but work from the stitches on all four cables in turn so those cables are pretty important.

I ordered more cables to make sure that never happens again. These are even longer so maybe they will stand up better under the stress of all those stitches and the ever increasing weight of the thing.

Of course I had an audience the whole time I was trying to take the photos. The poor thing wouldn't leave me alone. She is a sweet kitty but very needy attention-wise. I think someone dumped her off because I'm pretty sure she is spayed. I'm not seeing any unusual male activity in the vicinity and she's been around at least six or seven months now. I call her Hoover because she cleans up every morsel of food left behind by the other more finicky kitties.

Outdoor kitty Thelma is not amused by all her lovey dovey behavior. She doesn't approve of human contact.

 Neither does Louise. They don't know what to make of a cat that likes people even when they don't have a plate of food in their hand. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bye, Bye Baby

 Number Two Son is heading off to a new job in Michigan so we gathered this weekend to say adios. Thanks to the wonders of technology we took the World Cup with us to do some outdoor grilling.

 It's been nice to have all the kids in one place for the past few years but all good things must come to an end.

 We will be losing the family cook.

 We'll just have to muddle through as best we can at family gatherings from now on.

 The parting feast was a work of art.

 It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

 We made short work of the meal.

 Dessert was healthy. When you mix vegans with the gluten free folk it almost has to be.

 Everything in it's season on this beautiful summer solstice evening.

 Our winter solstice baby was in good form in spite of just getting over a nasty virus. There were plenty of gymnastics.

 All us grownups knew that "shushu" was leaving-but baby doesn't. Good thing. He wouldn't like it at all.