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.


kate said...

Funny, I just two minutes ago commented on the bees to Mr. Kate! My garden is humming as well.

I took out sausages. Don't know what I was thinking. You can imagine what the heat is at my bbq.

That is one dirty fleece!!

Rona said...

What a dirty dirty fleece!
I guess I will soon be doing like wise with the Alpaca / Llama (can't remember which one it is) that my aunt has bagged up for me! (Let me know if you are still interested in that action ;-)

I'm glad that you like the Lady's mantle, isn't is great the way that it holds the water droplets!

Dinner just around the corner from you has consisted of a bowl of each cherries and grapes, a cut up navel orange and a bowl of ice cream with some lovely cutup strawberries on top....anything more would be far to much to either make or consume.

lizbon said...

I feel strangely simpatico with that sheep (she says, frowning at the chain grease and balsamic vinegar on her t-shirt).

Ames said...


I planned my menu for this week based on what needs no cooking or what can be cooked in a crock pot placed in the garage.

Annalea said...

Hmmmm . . . if that hex works out as you suspected, I have a custom job for your girls to do. There are a few neighbors 'round these parts who could really use some lassitude and soothing . . . ;o)

I thought it was hot here today (about 101F), but man, oh man. I'm glad I wasn't at your house!

Jo said...

> I have no idea what the other people who live here will be eating

Ha! I think this most nights (especially in the summer).

Kimmer said...

Please send a narcoleptic hex my way - one that is effective on children who don't sleep well in the heat.

Dave Hingsburger said...

OK, that hex thing, with lavender bringing the neighbours down into a deep snooze. That's just funny. Really really funny. I read it aloud to Joe who laughed himself silly. Brilliant writing, as always.