Friday, June 22, 2012

A Good Week

This morning, we had a real treat!

Hot Air Ballons

Some hot air balloons soared over our place. I don't know why, but even cynical old me gets excited about these. Benny, of course, immediately wanted to get into one- although when they lit up the fire it freaked him out a bit. It looked like they landed in one of the fields just past 12 Mile Coulee Road, so they were quite low.

This week I managed to get quite a lot done. First, I dug up some lilac suckers which were spreading out underneath the deck. I could just barely reach the one, and discovered a second one which I moved as well. I added them to the row of lilacs I got from my dad last summer.


I had hesitated because I wasn't sure if they'd be "exactly" the same- they're probably different varieties- but I won't be going to Winnipeg this summer and won't be getting more from Dad, so I decided to just plant the rest of the row from my own suckers.

I also hoed up the back garden bed. I had planted some icelandic poppy seeds, but saw no evidence of them (we were hit with a deluge the next day, so I think the seeds washed away). There were a bunch of weeds, so I hoed up the whole thing and put in some annuals I had started from seed, and covered it with mulch, which I have found to be a decent weed suppressant.

Back Garden

There's also some nasturtiums that are getting started, rhubarb, and lilies. Only one raspberry survived the trip from Winnipeg and the winter, but everything else survived.

The lamium is blooming at the back:


and another columbine is starting to open at the front. I looked for buds, and it looks like in the next few weeks, the garden is really going to get gorgeous. I can't wait!

I also got some things going on my wheel. I am getting a little tired of combing all that wool and alpaca together, so I'm taking a break and spinning up some shetland I dyed.



I think I'll chain ply it.

I finished off one of my Ann Cecilia socks (except for the grafting):

Ann Cecilia Socks

And some nice stuff is coming out of the dye pot.

Sock Spinner Set
Sock Spinner Set in Teal Deer, wool/nylon 75/25, two 2oz braids.

Sock Spinner Set
Sock Spinner Set in Golden Rule, wool/nylon 75/25, two 2oz braids.

Blue Faced Leicester, 4oz.

Wensleydale, 4oz.

I've got some alpaca going and a few more braids drying. I love making pretty braids!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Message From the Void

It has been ages since I've had time to so much as photograph my garden, or spend much time at my wheel. I started a new job this month, so the last week and a half have been very full, exhausting, and good. My spinning has dropped off, as well as knitting, gardening, and sleep. However, yesterday I was done at five, and today and tomorrow are FREEEEEEEE! so, here is an update.

Corner Flower Bed

Even though I wasn't around to weed, coddle, or encourage my front flower bed at all, it is doing well. (I admit, I killed some catepillars which like to nom on the delphiniums and prevent them from forming flower spikes.) Those delphiniums will start blooming in a week or two, and there are some campanula behind them which might start this week. (yes, I know, I have to  move them. Next spring.)

Before I Got Hired, I started widening the front flower bed. (This remained an embarrassing mess for the better part of two weeks while I waited for the rain to cooperate with my days off.) This is how it looked last spring:
Flower bed inside the front fence

And now:
Front Flower Bed

The irises are planted where the wild rose bush was, to give you an idea.

These columbines just started opening:


And there is another one with yellow that is about to open. These pictures don't do justice to the garden- there are grape hyacinths, lilacs, lamium, and vinca blooming; the sunflowers that reseeded themselves are getting taller, the rosebushes, lilies, larkspur, pinks, and salvia are just about to bloom, and all the nasturtium seeds are coming up and growing quickly.

On the knitting front, I joined an alphabetical Knit-A-Long (which we are calling the AlphabetiKAL, lol), wherein we begin a pattern with the letter A in this month, B in July, C in August, etc. (The rules are way more relaxed than that. I think if you have an A somewhere in the project or yarn it's enough.) My project for June is the Acanthus Shawlette (in Curious Creek Meru):

Acanthus Shawlette

Way more of it is done, but this gives you an idea. I thought I would be done by now, but I did Get Hired. And this is NOT a traveling project.

I also started a pair of Ann Cecilia socks, but I don't have a good picture of them. They are a good traveling project, and when there are no customers at work I can take them out and put on a few rows.

I also learned how to comb wool this month. I got a pair of Louet mini-combs and did up some alpaca from a fleece I was going to blog about. (sigh). I'm sure you'll hear about it sooner or later, because it's an awesome fleece.

Right now I have taken Fiona's fleece (some of which I dyed pink) and some white alpaca, and started combing them together.


I loved the sample so much I am filling my bobbin with singles...


The only thing I dislike about combing is that it seems to have a lot more waste than carding. I don't know if it's just me or if that's normal, but it bugs me. It looks like the combs are getting the neps and VM out nicely, but a lot of good fibers get stuck in there with them. I'm keeping the leftovers and I might use them for needle felting or stuffing.

I hope to get to finish up my shawl and socks, but I think the next few days will be a whirlwind of laundry and vacuuming. I'll be spinning a bit, and hopefully I'll get in another blog post this week.