Friday, July 27, 2007

The "Robert" Seamans Scarf

I have had this handspun, hand-dyed skein of merino, just sitting in my basket for more than a year. It's been looking at me and calling "I'm orange - don't you know how trendy orange is? USE ME!" I don't even remember why it's orange - I vaguely remember plopping the fiber in some dyepot that hadn't completely exhausted. (I really should keep notes...)

So last evening I cast on for the "Robert" Seaman's scarf from Myrna Stahman's Shawls and Scarves. I've made several faroese shawls and two seamans scarves from this book, and it's a great resource. This is a quick to learn, two row lace pattern. I used a provisional cast on, size 7 needles, and cast on 41 stitches.

I do like to have at least one project going with my handspun, and I just finished those socks.

Yeah, I needed another project, eh?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Camping at Beaver Creek Valley State Park

Paul and I got away camping on Sunday, after dropping the Girl of the House at camp. She had a soccer game in the late afternoon, then we ran home, jumped in the truck and headed to camp. Dropped her about 7:30, visited with Ben for a bit (yup, this is the camp he works at), and headed out. It was about a two hour drive to the campground, Beaver Creek Valley State Park, complicated by driving through a heavy thunderstorm. We came in about 10 p.m., in the rain.

Woke Monday morning to a beautiful clear day.
Beaver Creek Valley is set in a narrow valley, carved out by a clear troutstream, amid the blufflands of southern Minnesota. The temps are usually 5 to 10 degrees cooler down in the valley in the shade.

We headed out for our morning coffee - we like to have it in a scenic spot when we're camping. This is the spring that the troutstream emerges from. We sat, sipped, and talked.

We did some hiking while we were there. There are challenging trails on the hillsides, and level trails along the stream.

It was extraordinarily quiet. We were one of only three campsites that were occupied.

Chip likes hiking, and we discovered that Chip LOVES water.
There are many stream crossings on the one trail, and he got right down in the water and did a little dance. Now, while I think Chip is pretty darn cute when he's dry, he has GOT to be one of the homeliest looking wet dogs I have ever seen!

Mostly, we sat in the shade with a cool beverage, reading. I finished the new Harry Potter book. Paul is working on the entire Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian. (The books that the movie "Master and Commander" was based on.)

We relaxed, ate well, and returned on Tuesday evening refreshed.

I brought knitting and spinning, but only worked on my latest sock in the truck on the way to and from the campground. Regia mini ringel, for Paul.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Paisley Lace Shawl completion

I finished clearing off my work table, only to discover that it isn't wide enough to block a square shawl. So Saturday, I was doing the laundry, and blocked the shawl on the sheetless bed. Hard to get high enough to get a good blocking picture - we have a canopy on the bed. It blocked out to 51" square. (Love those blocking wires!)

Here's a picture this morning on the deck. I'd have a picture of me modeling, but I still had my jammies on. I used 5 ounces (out of 8) of Angel Hair by Joslyn's Fiber Farm in the Plumes colorway. A bit over 1000 yards, if my math is correct.

Last night I finished my spindle spun socks. They definitely don't match, but I still love 'em. Cuff up, 2x2 ribbing. They are long enough I can fold over a cuff. That'll probably be the way I wear them.

We're dropping the Girl of the House at camp today. First she has a district soccer game to play. If they win, they'll go to state! Cross your fingers...

Then, Paul & I are going to spend a few nights camping ALONE!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

working late...

Monday night, I was on call for the OR. They called at 9:15 - a C-section to do ASAP. I went in, was setting up for the section, and there was another call. We need to do an appendectomy, too! Looks like a long night...

Home by 3:30 a.m. I did have Tuesday off, but I was a bit foggy throughout the day.

Paul left me a note when he went to work. "Look at the pictures in the camera."

An early morning turkey, just finished with breakfast under one of our birdfeeders.

I checked my e-mail, and Lorraine nominated me for Rockin' Girl Blogger! What an honor! Mostly I think I blog to help me clarify and document my life. It's a REAL treat to think that people actually read what I write. Thank you, Lorraine. I enjoy your blog Of Faith & Fiber, a great deal - I wish I could nominate you in return! I'll have to post later this week with my nominations. (this may require some thought!)

Halfway brain-dead, (I REALLY don't tolerate that middle of the night stuff as well as I did when I was younger.) I attempted to do something useful while the Girl of the House was at the pool.

My basement craft room (studio?) has a nice big table Paul made for me. I use it for cutting out sewing goods, and for blocking out my knitting. It has gingham fabric on top, so it really keeps things lined up well.

As you can see, it is also very useful for setting stuff down that needs to be put away!

I had leftover yarn from finished projects, tons of knitting, spinning, weaving magazines, tons of (printed off the internet) patterns (REALLY, TONS!!!), fabric for future projects, and other odd assorted stuff. I got all the random stuff put away, and now the magazines and patterns are in neat piles on top of the table. How long before I finish that? Tonight, I hope...

Then - I can block that Paisley Lace Shawl!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Camping again

Haven't posted for a week?! What in the heck is going on???

Actually, not all that much...

We did go camping this past weekend. Flandrau State Park, by New Ulm, MN. It was a nice enough park, but not one that we love enough to return to. Very crowded; not much space between sites. We like more privacy and quiet. We did get one of the more private spaces, thankfully!

There was a sand bottom swimming pool in this park. Girl of the House loved it for swimming, spent several hours there in the water with Paul and I watching her.

With the pool, this was NOT a park where people do much hiking. We had the hiking trails to ourselves, only meeting a rare hiker. We hiked up to Indian Point. There was a fabulous view of the Minnesota River Valley from the point. We got a geocache near the point, too!

This was Chips first hiking experience. After our morning 3.3 mile hike, he was POOPED!

On our way home, we swung by Ft. Ridgely State Park to do their hiking club trail. After seeing that little park, we wished we had camped there, instead! We're planning to go back soon. Quiet, shady, and it has a little river running right next to the campsites.

They are working on the 9 hole golf course at the park. (The only state park with a golf course! $6 weekdays, $9 weekends!) There are huge bales of straw, ready for spreading over newly seeded grass. GotH was fascinated with them.

I worked on my spindle-spun sock #2, in the truck, and at the campsite. I'm getting there!

I spindled - still working on the SOAR blend.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Tour de Fleece begins!

We were at a soccer tournament all weekend.
(notice the first place trophy cup?!)

So, I didn't get much spinning done for the Tour de Fleece.

I did get more of my coopworth fleece spun up.
Now, I need to card up more fleece!

Last evening, just so I could say I spun, I did up a few little bits of the class samples from
Shepherd's Harvest.

I worked on my socks driving to and from the games.
All I need to do on this one is graft the toe!

Friday night, we watched the first disk of Roots. I, of course, saw this when it was originally broadcast 30 years ago. My younger husband didn't see it. And it's a cool thing for the Girl of the House to see, too. Anyway, I started my satchel Friday night. Two strands of yarn, around and around - this pattern seems to fly!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

And a late happy fourth to YOU!

We had gorgeous fireworks here in town last evening. We sat in our little old topless yellow jeep wrangler, high on the hill above the fireworks, ate ice cream sandwiches, and enjoyed the heck out of ourselves.

We woke early (it WAS a weekday after all) and sat out on the deck, reading the morning paper, drinking coffee and admiring the morning.

I got a bit restless, and eyed some fiber that had been on the bobbin for about 3 years (REALLY!). It was the leftovers of some merino silk hand dyed with natural dyes that I bought at SOAR in 2003. I had plyed the rest up, and this little remainder was waiting for inspiration, I guess.

So, I plyed it up. You can see the twist that was set in after all those years on the bobbin!

Ah, looks better here, doesn't it. It had its little bath and a quick dry on the clothesline in the sun. 17 grams, 64 yards. Approx 1700 yards per pound. What I'll do with 64 yards, I don't know; but it makes a nice addition to the small skein pile.

And I feel like I accomplished something!

Then I took big dog and went for a run, before it got too hot. 7.5 miles. Didn't make my June goal of 3.5 miles/day - I'll try again this month!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Sun Dyeing

Lorraine asked for details on my sundyeing...

I do it quick and easy - not very complicated... I managed a little bit of it this weekend. I'll attempt to demonstrate?! Feel free to question - this is my first attempt at a tutorial!

I had 72 gms of Merino/silk that I bought on ebay a while ago that I wanted to dye.

I soaked it for about a half an hour in room temperature water with a few drops of dish soap in it to prepare it for dyeing.

I spun it out in my handy-dandy salad spinner (purchased at a garage sale for cheap).

Assembled the dyes and outdoor equipment I needed - boiling water, suntea jar (from years ago when I used to MAKE sun tea), wooden spoon.

Filled the suntea jar with a few inches of the hot water, carefully fed in approximately half of the merino/silk.

Tipped in about a half capful of the Gaywool cornflower dye. (gaywool is a fun dye that doesn't require premordanting, or vinegar.) Let it set about a minute...

Carefully pour in more hot water, letting it run down the side of the jar, so it doesn't felt the fiber.

Add about a half capful of the Gaywool bluegum dye. Let it sit on top of the floating fiber for a bit, then push it gently down with the wooden spoon. (wooden spoon used ONLY for dyeing)

Let it sit out all day in the sun, making sure it is always in full sun.

Leave it out overnight, and in the morning I pour it out into my salad spinner again for spinning dry.

I gently rinse in room temp water.

Spin again in salad spinner. Hang to dry.

Shake to refluff, and you're ready to spin! With the silk in this, I had a hard time getting a really nice picture - the silk keeps shining!

Paisley Lace Shawl!


It is finished! Ok, finished, but unblocked...
I cast off the final stitch last evening around 9:30.

Quick photo courtesy of Paul - better photos coming when I get it blocked out. Maybe the morning of the fourth, or maybe this weekend. (I have to get my worktable cleared off to make room to pin it out!)