Monday, June 16, 2008

Projects & Plants

I know, I've been bad about updating again. I went from being laid off for a week, to 12 hours per week, to 20 hours per week, to "how many hours can you give us without losing your mind?" So, in the best of scenarios, that would be 25 hours per week, but as I am in a veritable cable-building crunch, I'm working 30-plus hours per week. I like my work, but am not used to this schedule, plus it's allergy season and I don't know if what I'm struggling with is a cold or not. I'm feeling very compromised in the asthma department, so I'm thinking the nasal funk really was a cold, and I may have to see the doc if things don't clear up by Thursday or thereabouts.

Knitting and spinning continue, however. I've decided it's a good idea to try and meet Judy's challenge of 10 Minutes a Day with wheel and/or spindle. So far, so good. I always have a bit of something to work on during lunch and coffee breaks. Sometimes it's a spindling project, and other times it's knitting. Today I finished a new seaman's scarf design, showcasing one of the Flamborough gansey patterns. This took about 1-2/3 skeins of my hand-dyed stuff, a nice wool that used to be a garish yellow color before it got dumped in the dyepot. I wish it wasn't so darn difficult to get a good detail shot. Perhaps I will try again by daylight. Is there any chance that anyone can actually see the seed stitch diamonds and the cables in this? I hope so, but I'm afraid it's going to take a sharper pair of eyes than mine.

Next we have an attempt at a Cockleshell Lace scarf. I say attempt, because it went straight to the frog pond one motif later, due to a dropped stitch in one of the elongated sections. You'll probably spot it in the top left shell if you look at it closely for a minute.
The yarn is a gorgeous 85% wool/15% cashmere cobweb laceweight I will be selling eventually. Most of it is still on cones, and even unwashed it is incredibly soft and a delight to knit with. A 500 yard skein (yes, I have wound a few) weighs just 1.5 ounces! I can't wait to see how it takes dye. Pics of the finished scarf will appear here once I've got it washed and blocked. At the moment, I'm taking my time knitting it, hoping to avoid the stupid mistakes I make when I try to accomplish something lacy too quickly. (See hole left by dropped stitch above...)

Apart from knitting and spinning, it seems the tide may be turning in a positive direction as regards me, houseplants, and gardening in general. First, though not the most impressive-looking plant in the world, here is my very own Patchouli, which I got on a recent trip to Logee's in Connecticut. It is growing by leaps and bounds already, but since it is native to India, it cannot be exposed to temps below 60 degrees F. So, it lives in my office now, rather than the kitchen, where this picture was taken a couple of weeks ago. It's bigger now that it gets plenty of sun in my office window. At least a couple of times a day, I rub a leaf between my fingers and take a sniff. It's not as pungent as I thought it would be, but it definitely has that distinctive scent I love so much. (Yeah, I know, I'm far too young to have been a REAL hippy...) This next plant was a gift from Judy, years ago. I almost killed it a couple of times, but it rallied with the help of Miracle Gro fertilizer spikes, and I finally bought a nice new pot for it. It is happy on the mantelpiece, where it gets light, but no direct sun.
This is my prize, though, another acquisition from Logee's. The minute I saw it, I fell in love with it and simply HAD to have it. Begonia Rex Escargot. Long live the King!
Honestly, doesn't it have the coolest leaves ever? I've never seen anything quite like this before. Seems that this plant isn't all that common yet, so I'm really glad I bought I when I saw it!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A Bit of Silly Scottish Fun

If you haven't done it yet, click here. It's a silly game, good for a chuckle or two. I'd quite forgotten about it until a day or so ago. I need to forget it for awhile longer now, and get back to my knitting/spinning!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Spot the Whimsy

This is some mystery wool I did up on my drum carder. Not content to keep it simple, I got silly and added something fun. Can you see it?
Here's the whole skein spun up. 4 ounces of 2-ply, so close to 200 yards I could say, a la Maxwell Smart, "Missed it by...that much..." Its hand is a bit on the crispy side, partly because the wool is VERY "rustic," and partly because I couldn't get all those blasted North Ronaldsay sheep's guard hairs off the carder completely, and gave up. I'm thinking socks, perhaps.
Now, here's a close-up shot of that skein. Whimsy is fairly obvious here, in the form of purple angelina. Fun, fun, fun!
But not half as fun as this. One batt of Enchanted Knoll Farm's "Vardo." I spun it as a 2-ply and got 210 yards from the 2 ounce batt.
Here's the batt and the bit of sin I spun it on. Yes, another Ledbetter, purchased at MA Sheep & Wool, just minutes before I bought the Vardo batts.I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I am SUCH a sucker for Ken's fabulous spindles. Can't get enough!