I have about one and a half inches to go before I start the toe on the second sock. They are the last part of my birthday gift to Dearest Sister, who arrives this evening. They are supposed to be done by the time she arrives.
I knit at lunch.
I knit on break.
I will be knitting as soon as I change my clothes after I get home tonight.
Knit knit knit knit knit.....
Somehow it's not good enough to be done with them before she leaves. I want them for her when she arrives. Then she can't say..."those are beautiful, but I don't think I would want a pair of handknit socks. It would break my heart when I wore them out." If they are already done, she has to take them. See my plan?
It was about the only thing that got me back home at the end of vacation.
Well, not really. I don’t mind so much coming home. I like where I live, and don’t mind what I do for a living. It would be better if that part of my life wasn’t so much up in the air right now, but that’s just technicalities. Over all, I don’t have anything too much to grumble about.
And I think that makes special times even more special. Like the trip to Yellowstone, or when I get a visit from Dearest Sister and Galaxie Guy.
See, we go way back, we do. I’ve known her all her life, and I know things about her. Yes, I do.
She didn’t use to clean up her room. Well, neither did I really. We always shared a room and it was always a mess!
And sometimes she really misbehaved with babysitters. Maybe I wasn’t such a good example. In fact, the few times my poor mother found someone to watch us, how we performed might be akin to torture. Not many repeat babysitters in those days, now that I think about it.
She gave me the mumps. And that made me miss the first day of fifth grade. I thought that was about the worst thing that could happen, missing the first day of school. What was the point in going the rest of the year if one missed the first day, I ask you? That she did, gave me the mumps!
And she got me hooked on hankies…
On the other hand, one of my daughters was overheard warning a friend ‘not to worry about my mom and her sister…sometimes they just start laughing at nothing!’….to which we started laughing, thusly proving her point.
(Sometime she gets me to laughing just so I will wet my pants.)
Hurry up, Dearest Sister, and come see me. I anxiously await your arrival!
My goal was three skeins completed. I reached four. Good job!
I had hoped to spin every day, but knew it would be iffy, what with the vacation and all. I made a valiant attempt. I took the spindle and roving along, but it was not to be. Too much to do, too much to see. Very well.
Along the way, I learned from Maggie Casey’s book, Start Spinning, and feel more confident in teasing and carding the fleece, and in setting the final twist. Much more confident. Well done
(And thank you, Maggie, for selling me, Betsy, the Flying Lendrum, too!)
All in all, I feel I crossed the finished line, victorious, with only a scrape or two! I award myself ‘Le Maillot Jaune’! And the crowd goes wild…..
Next up…..Ravelympics! I play for Team Colorado, Event Baby Dressage. You are dying to know, aren’t you?
Having just gotten back from Yellowstone, I believe this is fortuitous timing!
I have a photo of one of the most famous, maybe THE most famous, features of this particular National Park before it’s timely eruption.
That little puff of steam back on the hill...that is she!
I have photos of the multitude of people gathering at the appointed time to see the famous geyser blow its heated water and steam into the sky. There were many….of all shapes and sizes and ages and nationalities. It is a famous geyser, indeed!
(Dearest Sister...Notice the ladies black pants! You were right. Those yellow ones were timeless!)
I have a movie of Old Faithful (and the back of a ladies head) of the event. It is an okay movie, but partway through, I realized I was watching this fantastic show of nature through an itty bitty camera screen, and missing the majesty of it all. The quality of the recording goes markedly downhill at that point, but I have pretty good memories instead!
What I give you is a photo of Old Faithful from 2004 instead. It was a colder and cloudier morning, and there was more steam, which blocked the view. Still, a remarkable sight.
Stats: Eruptions average every 74 minutes, +/- 30 minutes Hgt: 100-180 ft. Time: 1 ½ - 5 minutes Volume: 3700-8400 gallons (depending on length of eruption) Temp: Water: 204F Steam: 350F
I have renamed my Hedera socks to Six States Socks. I have knitted on them now in Colorado, Kansas, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Wonderful Guy and I drove to West Yellowstone yesterday, and I knitted four rows of the heel flap just so I could call them that! The socks, they are not done, but I think perhaps they will be...on time.
Yes, I am back from vacation. Yes, it was a grand and wonderful time. The wildlife, the wildflowers, the wild thermo-features (the oh so technical term)...what can I say! Words fall woefully short, but much to the chagrin of Only Step-Son, who house/dog/cat-sat while we were doing the vaycay thang, I have tried since our arrival to tell him all about our adventures!
And this is the 3rd time I have been there, not counting when I was two years old.
I have over a gig of photos and movies, and that is because I don't take my photos at the highest resolution possible!
I did no spinning. We went ninety to nothing most days (except for the nap day!), and there was nothing for it but crashing when we arrived back at the cabin.
I did little knitting. We traveled by scenic routes only on the way there, and while driving there....well, I was the wildlife/wildflower spotter. Priorities, people! Priorities!!
Pix need to be more closely perused, but I part with this one. The wildflowers were absolutely crazy. Believe me, this photo is an accurate representation. This is the far side of Yellowstone Lake, across from the Lake Hotel and West Thumb, between the east entrance and Fishing Bridge....where we saw an eagle.
And one more thing....I found my first ripe tomato of the season when I got home. Five full days shy of August! Yessssss.
Up and out early, we headed to Grand Teton National Park. I am always taken by how these mountains just spring from the sage meadows with no foothills, straight up! We were wondering at first if we were going to see them, though. The peaks were socked in with fog! The sun would burn off, then the tops would be gone again. Wonderful Guy and I took turns saying 'There they are!' and taking a photo. Eventually, all could be seen at once.
We made our way as far north as Lake Jackson Lodge, having seen a bit on the place on 'Great Lodges of the National Parks. It has a very impressive view of the Teton range and a willow meadow in front. There we saw a elk herd (ho hum! coming from where we live...) but we did catch a glimpse of a moose or two. Just a glimpse, but I think it bodes well for more today!
We picnicked along Lake Jenny, in the shade, with a great view of one of the mountains. The wildflowers are just thick. It is peak bloom, and of course, I didn't even think to pack one of my many books. I even have one specific for this area, having bought it first time I was here. D-oh.
We then took in the National Wildlife Art Museum. We were tapped out, and headed back to our room. Suddenly we woke and it was time for dinner.
Who cares! We are on vacation! We can do what we want.
Me, Dearest Sister, and my mom, a long time ago, but in relatively the same place I am today!
The weather has been a bit drear and damp, so we have foregone the adventure of tenting, and found a room here in Jackson. We are living it up! With wireless internet!
I found Knit on Pearl today and bought souvenir yarn. From Montana, from sheep raised organically and 'predator friendly'. There is a nice description on the band describing exactly what that is, all sort respect for the role of the food chain in the environment. A noble idea, and really are we, as humans, the biggest predator of all, so giving the bigger furry animals a chance sort of gives me warm fuzzies. I mean, they don't take more than what they eat, generally speaking, and certainly not with automatic weapons. So anyway, I paid full price!
Tomorrow, we are heading for the Tetons, and some exploring there. We spent time roaming around Jackson today, after picnicking in the square, and this place is packed with the touristas. We are feeling the need to break out into the wide open spaces.
How many stages are there? As many as I want! Gosh.
Our bags are packed. The food is bought. Gas is in the car. The route is plotted, more or less....
And there are no spiders in my sleeping bag. We may leave now. Or tomorrow morning, as our plans are.
This morning we had time to ride the Bandit to Estes Park, stopping in Glen Haven for the volunteer fire department's fundraising pancake feed. It was a nice ride, but got a bit warm on the way home. It's that time of year.
Tour de Fleece update time:
Skein C equals 293 yards at 3 ounces, and skein D equals 357 yards at 4 ounces, both with 18-19 wpi. Sweet!
Further preparations involved the yard this evening. I realized I had not a yard photo from July.
My lilies have been blooming with nary an encouragement from me.
I planted one echinachea a few years ago in the same corner. It seeded out and now I have a couple dozen there! This is the standard variety. I have not been so lucky in other areas of my yard, or with fancier varieties.
I have two wonderful stands of lavendar, one on either side of my front step. I love lavendar.
Bees love lavendar, too.
And look what I found when I convinced Wonderful Guy to help me cage the wild tomatoes before we left! Wonderful Guy is not overly found of the round red fruit. I say more for me!
I dare say there will be ripe ones when I return home. Be still, my beating heart!
The list of things to be accomplished before we leave grows shorter daily And yet, there are some items staring at me intently, in bold face.
I should get the sleeping bags out and make sure they are spider free. Really, I should. Really.
And shopping. I really ought to go grocery shopping for the camp box. We probably are going to be hungry along the way.
The Yellowstone books need to be perused/reviewed so we sort of have a plan. We've been before and mostly kind of know the place, but still it pays to have fresh knowledge. Oh, I'll just throw them in the car.
For now, it's enough to have a list. We are leaving Sunday, and that leaves all day Saturday! Why, that's FOREVER!
And I have my knitting figured out and organized, as well as my reading. Who cares about eating? I have the important stuff covered. And I found out there is a yarn store in Jackson Hole. Yes, there is! (I really need to check the sleeping bags, though...)
I have defined irony. For the Tour de Fleece, I have been spinning in the mornings before work, with a cup of coffee and the morning news. Very nice indeed. But it means giving up bicycling to work...hmmmm....
Speaking of the Tour de Fleece, tonight I will wind two more skeins, giving me a total of four. My goal was three skeins. So this is more. (Mind like a steel trap, that one has!) I have momentum on my alpaca fleece, and momentem feels good. Stats and photos tomorrow...after spider check.
Now, Betsy, the Flying Lendrum won't be accompanying Wonderful Guy and me on the trip, and I don't think I can spindle spin the baby alpaca rolags and deal with the veggie matter without mounting frustration. Since I have reached (and passed!) my TdF goal, I will toss in some top/roving from my stash that will be fun to spindle spin...around the campfire...in front of the tent...while swatting at mosquitoes...all I need to do is spin a little each day until the end of the race.
(That’s what I felt like was going off in my head this weekend with a migraine.)
I am lining up trip knitting once again. We are getting ready for a vacation trip to Yellowstone. We have reservations for the last part of the week, but have decided that for the first part, we will meander northward, camping as we go. Yep, we are throwing the tent and bags in the car and will find places to pitch along the way. Adventure! Spontaneity! Excitement!
So back to trip knitting….what to take…the ubiquitous dishclothe for sure. Finish up the Hedera socks. Can’t cast on the Miss Muffett as I have staked that project for the Ravelympics. Throw a Calorimetry or two in the mix (I had to frog one knitted on the 4th trip. My gauge lied to me.). I think another pair of socks will do the trick. Or two.
Between the Tour de Fleece and the Ravelympics, one would think yours truly is such an athlete! Or skilled craftsperson! Or crackhead! Or (fill in the blank)!
So I am off to the wild nether regions of no cell service nor innerwebs for a week, and things still all a-kilter at the place of quasi-employment. This will be a test, now won’t it? It has taken everything my program has to keep me even through all of this. Believing that it is going to be exactly as it needs to be in the end doesn’t mean it is an easy thing to go through. My humanness would like to know how it is going to turn out…now, please, and thank you very much!
Only Step-Son is going to house-sit, and care for kittie girls and Best Dog Ever. He will be accompanied by the Grand-Dog. I wonder how long it will take for the kittie girls to speak to us when we get home.
I might have a ripe tomato or two on my return.
I am expecting a visit from Dearest Sister and Galaxie Guy the following weekend. She will want to share my tomatoes. Maybe I will tell her Only Step-Son ate them all. Oh, what am I saying? Of course I will share. She’s my Dearest Sister, after all. (maybe…)
No bike riding lately. It has been too hot for that after having the migraine this weekend.
I found I need a couple of fillings replaced at a check-up earlier this week. I hate that. I mean I like having teeth, but I really hate having dental work done. It goes back to my childhood, I know, and I have a really great dentist. But still. Gah!
Review of Goals: My goal is to have 3 skeins (2-ply) completed of the 'in-process' baby alpaca, my first raw fleece.
Progress: As of Day 9, July 13th, two skeins have been spun, plied, wrapped, and set.
Results: Skein one amounts to approximately 430 yards and 5 oz., skein 2 approximately 380 yards and 4 oz. Both wrap about 18-19 per inch, making it laceweight-ish.
I have been anxious with this fleece. It's my first raw fleece, after all. I washed some of it. Then carded some. Then I spun some, all in the effort of making sure that I didn't screw up somewhere along the line, and destroying it all before realizing I was doing something wrong.
I followed Maggie Casey's advice in 'Learn To Spin' in setting the twist. No whacking after it's bath and rinse, but hanging (see the top photo).
When I checked on my yarn after drying, I was very pleased. This stuff is cloud-soft, squooshy, and yummy-licious, just like real baby alpaca! It's really clean, too, which is a pleasant surprise. I am inexperienced in levels of vegetable matter, but it seems this fleece had more than a fair share. But gone now! Or at least invisible mostly....
One more skein to go, and the singles are already in the works. She's a spinning machine, folks, a machine, I tell you!
A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to travel back east to visit Oldest Daughter, with Middle Daughter and Youngest Daughter, too. In the midst of planning, Dearest Sister choose to join the fun. For part of the trip, we ventured to New York City, the first for all of us, except, of course, for Oldest Daughter.
Oh, the things we did!
(the empire state building!)
The sights we visited!
The people we saw!
N is also for Naked Cowboy!
We were woefully uninformed as to this 'persona'. We thought this was indeed a NYC whackjob right there in Times Square in his tighty whiteys, in the misty rain, surrounded by...grinning women willing to stand next to his naked (and what had to be clammy damp) skin.
These photos were taken from afar. We are westerners, you see, and these sorts are not to be gotten close to where we hail from.
Well, then we see this fellow everywhere! On commercials selling cars...as an M&M....suing the candy company...
And even though the gift is for the daughter, I wrapped it loosely in a gift bag so we could share a peak together. So sneaky are we! Allowed we are!
To review, out of Sugar N’ Cream cotton, the Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono and Baby Bib O’ Love from Mason-Dixon Knitting, Oh Natural Hat from LionBrand, and Ruth’s Perfect Baby Booties. Pretty much all garter stitch, except for the booties. All are pretty basic items to knit. Not rocket science.
My friend was impressed. Very impressed. Embarrassingly impressed. Got all carried away, saying it was so special, and will be saved as an heirloom. I stopped her there. I told her I made it to be worn and used. It was out of cotton and could be washed and dried. In fact, it was made out of the same type of yarn I made her last batch of dishcloths out of! (Just don’t use bleach, or instead of blueberries, he will be wearing blue sky and clouds.)
She seemed doubtful, but agreed.
I did a good job on the articles. The stitches are even, the tension consistent, the finishing neat. But it’s decidedly not fancy work. One might even say it is mindless knitting. And one would be mostly correct.
It’s very difficult for me to accept such praise gracefully. I wanted to say….”It’s mostly just garter stitch!”
Indeed, it is more than ‘just garter stitch’. She was touched by my effort, my time, my friendship, and in her estimation, my talent and skill. Her daughter, almost 20, is unmarried, living at home, and the baby’s daddy is not in the picture. In retrospect, I have come to believe my friend appreciated some non-judgmental celebration in the form of hand knitted goods made special for the little guy. My friend appreciated my hand knitted gift, which is more than hand made items sometimes receive. (Can I get a witness?)
In other news, in the eight weeks since my last trim, my hair has grown ½ inch. She is admitting that her estimation 3 months ago of four inches of grow out was a bit generous, that my hair is very slow growing, and folic acid supplements maybe don’t help.
I have just returned inside from spending an hour or so outside in the yard on a beautiful evening. Together Wonderful Guy and I deadheaded (I kept a close eye on him, trust me!). I weeded some. The animals kept us company. There is no wind, the temperature is warm, but mild. The pesky mosquitoes that bothered us the last couple weeks are gone. In short, a perfect mid-summer evening.
Just what I needed to clear the head.
My head is full , you see, of work and the on-going uncertainty. Those of us who are left, and there are less daily, it seems, are wondering what the future will hold.
While I am working my program, and trying to act as if I knew today that everything was going to be okay (and I really do believe that it will be just as it needs to be), there are still feelings and some stresses that are natural in this situation. At least, I think it would be natural in a situation like this. I don't know, because I have never been in such a situation. This is an untrod path for me.
When is enough enough? When does one cut bait (so to speak as I am not a fisherperson by trade)? Well, not until I am paid, I guess.
Again, going back to my program, I will know what I need to do when I need to do it. For now, I know where the resume is on the hard drive, and I will work on the updating over the next week or so. Sooner, if I find myself unemployed. Later, if payroll is met (yes, we are due some funds), and the board decides on what, in my mind, at least, is the more favorable option for the future
It will be what it will be, but the unknowing is proving to be very wearing.
Upon our return from Kansas, I continued spinning with the baby alpaca. I have spun up all the rolags I had carded. While reviewing my brand new “Start Spinning”, I learned from Maggie about teasing my cleaned fleece.
I teased it mercilessly. I said it had nappy hair. I called it names. I mocked and taunted the poor fleece. I am not sure the reasoning behind these actions, but I persevered. Upon reading further, I discovered what Maggie intended. Oops.
After teasing and some carding, I now have more to spin tonight. And more to card, as well. I think the teasing was beneficial. The carding worked better, or maybe I am getting better. Or maybe both.
A couple weeks ago, while watching me work the alpaca, Wonderful Guy asked me what I had learned from the process. The learning curve has been steep.
I am glad I started with lanolin-free alpaca for the washing.
I have learned about examining the fleece thoroughly for vegetable matter. I will be ruthless in that regard in the future. And I was when deciding on the Jacob fleece at the Estes Park Wool Market.
Overall, I am pleased with the quality of this alpaca, and believe that I will have some delightful yarn when all is done. It is the first shearing from this particular fellow, after all. I may have spent a bit more than necessary, but not outrageously so. And with more experience, I might discover, not overly much for good clean fleece. It is good fleece, just maybe not so free of the VM.
There is a voice that is saying perhaps fiber prep is not for me. There are many outlets that offer wonderful and beautifully prepared roving and top. This is hard work, after all. Yet, I am finding it satisfying. So far.
Finishing a knitted object with it will be very telling.
Anyway, I am on track with my TdF personal challenge, working daily on the alpaca, making good progress, learning and refining techniques, and I think the 3 finished skeins is an achievable goal.
We are back from our travels to Kansas. Not a photo was taken. Not sure how that happened. The weather was unusually cool and damp, which was very pleasant and unexpected.
The small town fireworks were pretty impressive, until I felt something hit my leg. I thought one of the local little tykes had thrown a rock at me. It was a hefty impact, but when I looked down, I had a ring of soot, about an inch in diameter, mid-shin. Apparently, one of the spent, but un-incinerated cardboard tubes in which the charges are loaded, fell from the sky and landed on...me! No burn, but a good abrasion from the impact, and a sore place. I am very glad it took out my leg and not my face. It could have put my eye out! Seriously! I had been enjoying the fireworks up to that point. I watched the rest thinking I should have my safety glasses on.
I had a very nice visit with Wisest Sister in Lawrence, and a good, profitable visit to the Yarn Barn. Picked out some Shetland top, then fell in love with some 50/50 wool/silk. It's laceweight and I think I have enough for a shawl. Maybe. Since the bridge between Waterville and Manhattan is being worked on, a detour was required, so I didn't get to Wildflower Yarns there. Instead, I went through Wamego, and thanks to Ravelry, I remembered a little shop opened up there the last of June. Had to stop. Had to! Named Settler's Farm, I bought some of her handpainted sock yarn. Photos will follow...sometime.
I knitted most of the way there and back, and knitted most of the day while we visited on Thursday.
Tally for the trip:
One Hedera sock complete, and another cast one, and the leg is 1/3 complete.
One dishcloth, left with MIL for being such a great hostess, which she always is.
One matching tribble 2/3 complete.
One grocery sack thingey for Middle Daughter and Friend, except for finishing touches.
Two Calorimetries of homespun, one which turned out a bit bigger than the other. How does that happen? AGH!
Again, photos to follow...sometime soon.
I am ready for some spinning for the Tour de Fleece now, having knitted very very very very much. Very much.
My copy of Start Spinning by Maggie Casey arrived while I was gone, too. I am excited to review and learn what she has to share.
..le Tour de Fleece! My goal is to have 3 skeins (2 ply) of my baby alpaca complete by the end of le Tour de France. There will have to be lots of spinning going on here at the old homestead for that to happen. This stuff has been slow going, but I am determined to set myself a challenge to meet, not just something I can do. Also, with the trip over the 4th, and a vacation to Yellowstone planned the week of the event, I can budget knitting time to traveling, and spinning time to my evenings.
So we are off tomorrow for four days, and I don't know about computer access. It will be what it will be, and maybe I will be in touch.
I had a personal message today from a volunteer editor in Ravelry wanting to use my photo of the baby booties as the featured photo on the project page. In spite of the fact that there are very few of that particular project showing as knitted in Ravelry, I am still flattered. There doesn't have to be a photo, you know!
A few weeks ago, I posted about winning some books by the Yarn Harlot. Remember, yes? I would like to bring to your attention the comment (yes, singular...I don't get that many) to that post. Imagine my surprise. Imagine my effort in trying to explain my excitement to Wonderful Guy!
One of my first posts was about my hometown, Greensburg, KS. It was destroyed by a tornado a year ago in May. About 2 weeks ago, on the Planet Green channel, a series called 'Greensburg' began, chronicling the rebuilding choices, efforts, and successes. In this series, one of the families followed is that of my oldest BFF, as my girls make the reference. Except now she is 'Mom's FBFF' (.... or famous best friend forever....). Her son plays very prominently in the series as one of the high schoolers active in the efforts, and comes across very well, I think. (Tish, you must be so proud of him!) I have to admit, it is a very strange to see those I know and the place I grew up on TV!
We have sent the Middle Daughter and Friend back to Salt Lake, and are making preparations for the trip to Kansas day after tomorrow. No time for winding down! Things to do, places to go, people to see...well, certainly things to be packed, animals to be cared for, and plants to be watered. Always with the drama!