Friday, July 31, 2009


I got my Rauma books from Denise’s Needleworks last week, and right away decided what to knit first:Damestrompe

Yesterday I went to a LYS’ anniversary sale, and found black and white Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine. The pattern calls for a tension of 34-35 stitches over 4 inches in pattern, on a 2mm needle.

I swatched, and…want to see what 12 stitches to the inch looks like?



So I’m going up a few needle sizes – I’ll probably settle somewhere around a 2.75 or 3mm needle. I don’t think the yarn would work well on anything bigger. I might have to change yarns, but I devoutly hope not.

Also bought a Rowan knitting bag (my first ever REAL knitting bag) at the sale – half price at $41.


The inside is gratifyingly large – I could easily put a complete, full-sized sweater project in here, plus a couple of pairs of socks and some carding. Score!


Lastly, my total output on the Shetland so far…


I’m pleased with my progress, though I wish I had spun the white a bit more consistently. I’m not sure what I did differently – I think one of the colours has more twist in the single than the other colour, but I am not totally sure which. I like the feel of the grey much better than the white – the white’s a bit ropy and the plies aren’t hugging together as well as I’d like them to. Maybe I should have added more twist while plying?

Monday, July 27, 2009

El Fruitablo

Elizabeth, at the end of this post I respond to your question about the Easter dress.
And another one's gone
and another one's down...

Weeks just keep flowing by and I barely notice.

Work continues on the Shetland project: I have finished all the washing and am carding and spinning. I've done two skeins of grey (showed you that before) and two skeins of white.

The white fleece, which I have the most of, was the dirtiest one of all. In the words of my shepherd boy, "She's a real pig." This ewe rolls in anything she finds, and the day before she was shorn, got into the woodchip pile and wriggled down deep. Have a gander at her fleece, soaking in the tub:

and this is what the water looked like afterwards (three washes like this, then two rinses, gets most of it out):

The dirt isn't the problem though - the woodchips and grass seed are the problem. There's only one way to remove that: card, card, and then card again. When you're done carding, card it a few more times. Couple more times through the carders for good measure, keeping your tweezers handy to pick out more grass seed, and then give up and roll it into a rolag. What you didn't get out in the washing and carding, you have to pick out as you spin the singles.

I borrowed this little sweetie from the guild the other day: it's not as helpful as I thought it would be though. Turns out wool is like bread: if you want it done right, you have to finish by hand.

Spinning outside is lovely nowadays, but I have to get out there early - by 10:30 the shade is mostly gone from the back garden, and I need shade: it is hot. 42 today (109.4). Hot enough, as Auntie Bina says, to make the tongue of a crow hang out.

The garden has bloomed


and gone to seed

These pictures will get bigger if you click on them.

As hot as it is, though, these little dudes don't seem bothered by it. They're the only ones hard at it, in the scorching sun. Talk about a work ethic.
Notice that the children have stripped my lavandula angustifolia Hidcote - they were making potions last week and had to use the better part of six lavender plants' worth of blooms, to create an effective curse. I didn't ask what they were cursing - it sounded like the answer might be "The neighbour's house" and I wanted to be sure of plausible deniability, later. In the event that they turn out to be unexpectedly good at hexes, though, with that much lavender I imagine the effect won't be anything more ominous than a sudden lassitude followed by fits of remarkably soothing narcolepsy.

And maybe softer skin.

The shade garden is doing fairly well - thanks Rona for the Lady's Mantle. The best part about alchemilla vulgaris is the way it looks after you've watered. Not that you can tell - in this weather the water is mostly gone within minutes.

Lastly, here's my beautiful, chilled dinner - isn't it lovely?

I have no idea what the other people who live here will be eating: I suspect I'll have to turn a burner on at some point, but only when I'm forced to.


In response to Elizabeth's question on the Easter Dress post:

I suspect the pattern piece you're trying to lay out is supposed to be cut on a single layer. Double-check that, and if it still doesn't fit, cut two and seam them together. The skirt is just a huge square (rectangle?) anyway, so it won't affect the fit. Just try to make sure the seam lands on a side, and matches with the side seam of the bodice when sewn. It IS possible that the dress is designed for 60" fabric only, and that your one particular piece won't fit on a 44" fabric, if that's what you have. Sometimes that happens - it just means you seam the piece and have to buy a little extra. Good luck! If you have any questions, ask me again. Maybe email me at the address in the sidebar, so I know how to get in touch.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Do as I do.

Dear Mum and Dad:

Forty years ago you made promises to each other that you didn't know the meaning of. Marriages are made too early in a life: people make vows too young, and they move into life together with the glittery dust of youthful love in their eyes. A lot of the time, when the hardships of life together have wiped most of it away, there are plenty of excuses to forsake those promises.

You, together, have chosen to stand by your word. In spite of every little - and not so little - reason you might have found not to, you decided to keep your vows.

We, your children, have had before us an example of excellence, of perseverence, of love and determined joy, found in all the years we have watched you live, work, fight, love and endure, together.

Thank you for showing us what you have shown, for equipping us for our own marriages and the raising of our children.

We love you, as you love us and each other.

Happy anniversary.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wish you were here

I'm startled to see that it has been 8 days since I posted. But, really, if you were here, doing this, would you be thinking about blogging?

My new favourite thing to do, and the number one reason that none of my family's dinners has been on time for, like, days.

There's something so satisfying about the whickering wheel, wind in the trees behind my house, and industrious birdsong all mingling together into a contented, busy euphony. I could spend whole days here.

Yesterday a butterfly came to rest on one maiden as I was spinning. It was only there for a second before it wafted away.

The weekends are full of my neighbours' power tools and top-forty radios, but Monday through Friday, after all their cars have charged off for work and daycare, the birds and the wheel and I make a gentler music for my neighbourhood.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


I just bought these two pattern books at Denise's NeedleWorks. There ought to be some kind of rule about late-night online purchasing, like in Gremlins: don't feed your stash after midnight or it'll take over your house. Where's a wise old Chinese gentleman when you need one, like when you're logging on to PayPal?

But I've been wanting these books for a long time, so it's not really an impulse-buy - more a well-considered investment.

Book One:

They're for me, of course, but one or two Christmas presents might be made from them...maybe. I've got two pressies done already - y'know, we're more than halfway to Yule. (Kate, are you going to smack me for that, the next time I see you?)