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I'm never bored. If I'm not knitting or spinning, I'm gardening or reading. There's so much to learn and never enough time. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fiber Festival Finds

Daughter and I ventured north to Massachusetts last weekend, following fiber fumes. First to WEBS, America's Yarn Store. We circled the yarn like hunters after big game. We were both satisfied with our purchases, only to discover that the commonwealth doesn't charge tax on yarn. What??? And we had purchased enough to qualify for the BIG discount. No shipping. The price of gas is down and WEBS is only an hour and half away. WEBS is now my lys, just saying. I bought some Juniper Moon Farm Findley to make the Imogen Tee for next spring. I thought I was very reasonable, considering I don't spend much time in yarn stores. Then we were off to the Fiber Festival of New England, which was just a few miles away. I was looking for breed-specific roving that I hadn't spun before. I settled on 4 ounces of Falkland from Spunky Eclectic in the color "Pumpkin". I might save the resulting yarn for those cute little knitted pumpkins I saw on Ravelry earlier this year. 
We met a man at the fair who was selling lamps and candle lights made from assorted old spools and spindles from abandoned knitting mills in Lowell, Massachusetts. He included the little bulb and had slashed his prices in half. I couldn't leave without one. I added some rusty garland from JoAnn's. I love this little thing.

Though I wish the mills were still active, I love owning a little piece of fiber history.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Stitching and Sneezing

I finished my "Pebble Beach Shawl" by designer Helen Stewart after we came home from our trip. It's the medium size in Malabrigo "Indecita". I tried photographing it outside but the colors only came true in low lighting inside the house. I love the way Helen writes her patterns and will definitely try one of hers again.

Not sure if was the color of the yarn or the wine that made the going difficult on black needles. I ordered some new double points from KnitPicks in their Sunstruck wood. There should be no excuses now. I need a winter hat and I have enough Malabrigo worsted for a hat and I think I can get a cowl out of it. The color is "Velvet Grapes". It's a lot more purple and less pink than in the picture.

And I've picked up "Pour Moi" by Versaci Knits again. The wool is Knitpicks "Wool of the Andes" in camel. It's toothy and rustic but it will keep me warm when it's finished. It should wear like iron. The original in the picture is knitted in Madelinetosh Sport. If I really like the sweater I might spring for MT someday for a sweater. I don't like the idea of alternating skeins and I really don't care for the MT price tag. In my size, this would be a very pricey project.

I'm going to give cross stitching a whirl again. It's been a long time and never on Belfast linen. This is a project for sunny days, clear eyes, no wine. One good, hard freeze and my allergies should clear up. This little project deserves all my attention once it's started.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Secret Garden

 I picked up a copy of The Secret Garden for a dollar when my local library was having a book sale last summer. Somehow I'd missed reading it as a child. One at a time, I'm trying to catch up on some of the classics I missed. Last time, it was Anna Karenina. I took it as something to stay occupied while my son was having his wisdom teeth removed. That day, I felt like throwing Anna under the train myself.
Looking for something lighter, I took The Secret Garden along on our trip, reading a few pages each night before going to sleep. I know it's dated. There's some racism in the original copy I have, and that reflects the time in which it was written. I didn't allow that to ruin the book for me, though and I understand it's been edited and updated with a new voice by Briton Bailey.
I hope much of the original text remains the same. Many of us have been through tough situations, both with our own health and issues with the people we love. I believe it takes courage to grieve what can't be undone and replace sadness with hope and continue to live. Here's an except that I love - plainly spoken by a gardener in the secret garden:
 "Much more surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, jut has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place. - Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow."

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Wild Gardens of Acadia, Maine

I wanted to stay longer. It did't matter that the ferns had turned a golden brown. Everywhere I looked was natural beauty. Mushrooms, streams troubled by landing insects into waves of glassy water. White birch, goldenrod, wild asters, lichens, reindeer moss. I didn't want to leave but the tour bus was waiting.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tending Weeds - Sweet Annie

Image result for sweet annie plant

The definition of a weed:

A plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome, especially one that grows where it is
not wanted.

So, by definition, I've apparently been cultivating undesirable plants. Troublesome plants. Plants nobody wants. A couple of weeks ago, I was weeding a small area behind the pool filter that had become somewhat overgrown. As I yanked and pulled, I recognized a familiar fragrance. "Sweet Annie" - I'd been pulling out a patch of "Sweet Annie"! So I quickly dug a couple of holes in the back of my so-called vegetable patch, and dropped in a couple of handfuls of roots and stem. Last fall I bought some branches of "Sweet Annie", or Artimisia annua from a vendor at the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, New York. I'd previously planted some seeds but never identified any seedlings. Anyway, I formed my "Annie" into a wreath with green florists' wire and added some dried Hydrangea blossoms to complete the piece. I know "Annie"  grows by the side of the road but I never found any I could cut without getting run over. Hopefully now, I'll have my own little crop of this fragrant herb. "Sweet Annie", according to Mother Earth News, is originally a native to Southeastern Europe, North Africa and Iran. It's known as "the Tomboy" of everlasting gardens due to it's plain and gawky appearance. It's a favorite of crafters for its versatility and sweet, lingering fragrance and been used medicinally since the 7th century as well. "Sweet Annie" will only become troublesome to me if I can't keep up with the harvesting.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Euptoieta claudia & Indiecito

This beautiful thing is a Variegated Fritillary (or Euptoieta claudia). She didn't get into a face off with the large bee that shared the branch of butterfly bush with her. She just elegantly enjoyed sipping and flitting around on a warm September afternoon. It struck me that her wings backlit by the sun, matched the centers of the flowerettes perfectly. When looking for color combinations for yarn dying, fiber artists frequently take a cue from nature and this is a perfect example of colors that I would never have tried to combine.

I've barely started a new project - a Pebble Beach Shawl, designed by Helen Stewart in Malabrigo Arroyo in a variegated colorway called Indiecita (Little Indian). I wasn't sure if I'd like this pattern in this particular yarn. It reminds me of a beachy, summer sunset. Another inspiration from nature. Someone said that there's nothing new in the world. All we have to do is look around and appreciate what's here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Before & After Kitchen

Here's where we started. I married a man with a son who were living in a home that had never been updated. Just a couple of bachelors (one big, one little) with a sad, yellow kitchen.
This is where we started. A small, square kitchen, portable dishwasher, wall between the kitchen and a dining area/family room. A very large coal stove and chimney that had to be removed. We kept the brick wall. 

Stove and chimney removed but hole still in ceiling. Built-in bar with mirror tiles over (apparently to nicely reflect liquor bottles?
We kept the existing window over the sink.
The wall between the kitchen and FR (with cook top and built-in oven came down.)

Stove & microhood are where the old fridge was. A door to the backyard was closed up and the fridge takes its place.

Maple glass door cabinets and built-in desk replaced a bare wall and portable dishwasher. The desk was created by using upper cabinets as lower to allow room for knee space under the countertop of the desk.

I'm linking back to the www.thededicatedhouse.com blog (Wednesday Before and After).