Lupines grow wild up here, along side the road and in damp ditches.  You can pick them, or you can dig them and transplant them, but they die almost as soon as you do, you can plant lupine seeds, but I think they are slow to take hold and like a wet area, so there is really only one way to enjoy them, and that is to see them in the wild.  Aren’t they beautiful?


Clipped Wings

I have decided to unravel the wingspan shawl.  I have three triangles done, and I do really love the construction of it, but I don’t love the garter stitch.  I thought I would like it more as I went on, but I just don’t like all that garter stitch.  I like the ease of knitting it, but I think it looks clumsy and uninspired.

A consideration too is that this is handspun yarn.  I am just not willing to invest this much handspun in something I don’t love.

I think I might try this again but in stockinette stitch.  I like to see the knitted side, not just the purl side.  And if I did that, I would use commercial yarn, not handspun.  Its just too special for something that is just okay.

Thunderstorm Tuesday

I woke up this morning to the sound of a thunderstorm.  And there is another one brewing right now, so I am hurrying to get this post done so I can turn off my computer before it gets any closer.  It really didn’t hurt my feelings that it rained all day though.  I did something unfortunate to my ankle on Sunday, then had to work on it yesterday (ouchy) and today it is still swollen and sore.  So a day of yard work was definitely not in the forecast for me today.

I did some sewing today.  Instead of house work which might have been more appropriate and definitely more pressing than making more bags.  Since I did not keep any of the last batch of  project bags, I made two for myself today.  One is smaller than the other.  Just right for a small project, socks or mittens or something.  And can easily be chucked into a tote bag to take with.

Remember these guys?  Still working on them.

And another one that is bigger.   The handles are neck ties.  I thought that was funny.  The bottom is denim from a skirt that I got at the thrift but never wore.

I like the curved opening.  I have never done a big bag with an opening like that.  The zipper was a bugger to put in.  I did it last, and I know better than that.  But to have done it first would have meant a hole that would have had to have been sewn by hand afterwards (for ease of turning).  I like how the top sort of clam shells open.  The bag does not stand up by itself empty, but with knitting in it it does.

I see you trying to peek at that project in there.  Don’t look.  Some of you might recognize it though, as it is a popular project on Ravelry right now.  Here’s a hint:  There are 22 of those squares.  No, I can’t tell you any more yet.  Lets see how it comes out first.

And these look like project bags but they aren’t.  Actually I started with these today.  Appropriate considering my swollen ankle.

They are for holding ice packs.  You could either use them for bumps and bruises (and swellings) or to tuck into your lunch box to keep your lunch cold.  The bags are washable.

And this pink thing that I have been taking the pictures on is a cover for a comforter.  Someone gave me a comforter last year, (yes, LAST YEAR, and I am just getting around to re-covering it now, I’ve been busy) which is really warm and light weight, but sadly is light blue with white geese with yellow bows.  Oh The Horror.  I have been making my bed with it underneath my pink down comforter, pretending its not there.  But it is there.  So today I finally got around to making it prettier.  I had pink and a white flat sheets that were almost the same size, so I sewed them together.  That’s not enough though, because when you cover a comforter like that, it really just swims around inside its new bag and gets all clumpy.  You have to tie down the corners at least, like a quilt, to keep it in place.  I didn’t tie the whole thing, just around the edges.

No more ducks.   Much better.

The local weather man (Ug) says these storms are up and down the whole east coast.  Enjoy the fireworks!  Turn off your computers!!  Our friend Dave wishes he had turned his off earlier in the day.  Now he has to get a new one.  Sad.  Going to put some ice on the ankle.

A Super Sunday

I have been making this project for two weeks now.  Not actually making it, but making it in my head.  This is how I do things like this.  I think about it and think about it.  I make it and make it and make it until I know how it goes together, then I can actually make it when all of the parts come together, because I figured out what didn’t work right.

I have been wanting one of those pull around shopping cart things that you might take to the market or stuff laundry into or whatever.  Do you know the kind I mean? Old ladies push them down the sidewalk? They are usually white and fold up and cost $30?  I don’t have $30.  But we do have odds and ends of useful stuff.  I have been eyeing this old pet cage that we have wondering how to make it into something better.  The problem has been the wheels.  Several weeks back I got two bicycle wheels for a youth sized bike at the dump thinking those would be handy.  So in my mind the cage and the wheels went together for this cart.  But the wheels were a bit big and one of them had gear thingys on it that might not come out.  It wasn’t quite right.  But I knew I was on the right track.  And there was the axle to consider.  How would the wheels attach to the cage?  What would I use for a handle?  And how to keep it light enough to get in and out of the van?

Today at the dump I got the exact, EXACT, right thing to finish my project.  The wheels and metal parts to a portable charcoal grill.  They could not have been any more perfect.  I find that what I need–not what I want, but what I need–will always show up at the recycle room at the dump.  I mean transfer station.  Not always when I ask for it, but when it is the right time to receive it.  I think the Great Spirit hears what I am asking for and leaves it there for me.  I always say thank you, and I think that is why the right things keep showing up.  Is it okay that I think there is a Great Spirit Of Junk At The Dump?

My tools were a butter knife and pruners.

What to do for a handle?

The small little weedy saplings from the lilac bush.  Woven into a handle.  I used the holes in the table as a base to hold it while I wove it.

The metal parts of the wheel mechanism got a coat of chrome spray paint.  I covered the wheels themselves  with plastic bags so as not to cover them in silver.  Yes, I painted right onto the driveway, no, the dog is not going to eat the paint.

The cage is red.  That’s what we had the most of.  You can’t see in this view, but the part of the cage where the door is is completely folded inside the cage.  We thought to take it off entirely, but there are these pain in the butt clips holding it on that really did not want to come off.  (I asked Ug to do this, but for three days they still did not get taken off.)  So they are still on there, but with the whole end just pushed to the inside.  It actually gives it more stability that way too.  I’m sure that Ug knew this the whole time and was just waiting for me to come to this conclusion myself.

Woven handle attached to the uprights on the wheely thing.

I have four hose clamps holding this rig together.  That was the only thing that cost any money.  Two for 59 cents and two for 65 cents.  I couldn’t find my screwdriver so I used a butter knife to tighten the clamps.

The uprights had these weird clamps on them already, so those are just some extra support.

During the hottest part of today I went upstairs to the sewing room and made a liner for it.  (Instead of mowing the lawn.)

My measurements might have been a bit off on the liner, it sags and bags here and there, but that’s okay.

I really could not be more thrilled with this whole project.  It looks just like it did when it was only in my head.  And it works.  It pulls along nicely.  I think the clamps will need to be tightened as the handle dries out.  Even if the handle should not work out for some reason, I think I could come up with something else.  But I like this one and hope it holds together.

I want to use this next weekend when I go to the Fiber Frolic.  When you go to something like that you tend to have to park way over there, and the fair is way over here, so you don’t really go back and forth to the car.  But you need stuff for a day out.  Water, a lunch, a second pair of shoes  because your feet hurt half way through the day (no matter what shoes you brought), and some knitting for when you are sitting down on the bench watching all of the people and sheep and goats go by.  All that stuff gets heavy when you are using your back pack.  Which is what I did last year and I nearly sweat to death with that thing on my back.

I am just so pleased with this.  I am giggling inside still.  I think this would be handy on lots of outings, which is why people buy those things I guess.  But geez, I made it, and I made it from used old junk, and no one else has one like it.

Creative Fiber Fridays

I have decided to treat myself–as a reward for cleaning up my half-started spinning projects–and am spinning the Texas Kid Mohair that I dyed back  here .  At the time I was not well pleased with how it turned out, as it was not what I had planned.  But when I was able to get over and let go of what I had planned, I had to decide that the result really is beautiful.  I started spinning this a couple of days ago, and now I have my first skein.

On the wheel:

Left to right:  Pre-drafted fiber, fiber in balls ready to pre-draft, and a finished skein.

The colors are so pretty in the pre-drafted lengths.

I am really pleased with the finished yarn.  It is so soft and silky.  The colors just shine.  I would happily buy more of this fiber for dyeing again.  I purchased the undyed fiber from /Hippie Chix Fiber on Etsy.

I am participating in Creative Fridays with Natural Suburbia, and Fiber Arts Fridays with Wonder Why Alpaca Farm.  Check them both out to see what a lot of other creative folks are working on today!

Everything teal is not always rosey

I finished the teal merino that I was working on.

3 7/8 ounces.  Why 3 7/8 ounces and not 4 ounces?  because there was this tangly glob that did not want to be plied.  It liked being a little knotted unreasonable mess.  Some days I would patiently sit and work that out, but today after a few minutes I pulled it off and kept going.  Ug says I should show my successes and my failures.  He’s right.  Don’t tell him I said that.  I don’t think this is a failure, but I could have left out the bit about the snarly glob. I think its good to see that sometimes.  Especially if you were learning to spin and thought that everyone got it perfectly right all of the time.  They don’t.  They just don’t show you the messy bits.

Finishing this is actually a really nice point though.  Because other than working on the fiber from that Gap scarf   that I pulled apart, I am finished with my half finished spinning projects.  That means I can start on something new.  What a fun place to be.  So many choices, so many possibilities.

Thanks for looking today.

Random Tuesdayness

A few random things for today.  First, I am not feeling overly adventurous or getting-things-done-ish today.  Not really lazy, but this morning it was humid and sticky, and now that the air has crisped up and cooled off, it is raining.  So I’m just sort of wandering around wondering how not to waste my whole day off.  It doesn’t  seem right to be inside all afternoon when the garden wants so much attention.  So a few random bits here for now hoping that the rain will end, or at least turn to drizzle so I can go back outside.

Last night at work I noticed that we have a new iced tea for sale–TAZO tea.  I have used their tea bags before and liked them quite well, so a bottled iced tea version seemed interesting.  Particularly the green tea with spearmint and lemon grass.  I turned the bottle round to read the nutrition information.  This one bottle of tea had as much sugar as a can of Coke. That is just not right in my book.  Why can’t you buy bottled ice tea without so much sugar in it?  So I put it back.  And thought about it and thought about it.  I bet the mint and lemon is nice together.  When I got home last night I rummaged through the tea drawer.  Yes, I have a tea drawer.  Don’t you?  This is what I came up with:

Gallon jug of water, decaffeinated green tea, lemon tea, and loose leaf spearmint tea.

An hour on the counter and it was lovely.  And decaffeinated too.  And ZERO sugar.  And pennies for a gallon.

Some gardening bits now:

This is my seed starting shelf in the entryway of my house.  I planted these seeds about a week ago.  There are some cucumbers, broccoli, cabbage, squash, zucchini, so far.  Once these are set out I will start more.  It gets pretty warm in that little entry way as there are windows on either side, so this is actually a good spot for them.  Disregard the messy recycling underneath the shelf.

Ug and I worked on this project this noon time.  Down either side of my driveway the lawn makes an annoying dip, ditch-like.  It is really hard to mow these two strips where the hay is now.  Ankle buster type of mowing.  One wrong step and your ankle is done for the day. So my theory with this whole yard is to start filling in the bad spots with raised garden beds.  Anyplace hard to mow or hard to walk is getting planted instead.  These two rows of mulch hay will be growing potatoes.  I planted the left hand side (with the white sign for variety identification) with Red Pontiacs.  I still have the right side to plant, I have Yukon Golds and Kennebecs waiting to go in.  What surprised me was how far they went.  I had about 3 lbs. of sprouted spuds, (59 cents per pound, so about $1.80 worth) which planted this whole row, once cut up into chunks with two sprouts each.  My dilemma now is that I have one more row and two more bags of taters.  So more hay and another row somewhere else.  A nice problem to have.

How can this work?  Your potatoes will never grow like that.  Just in hay?  Not even in dirt?  Of course they will.  I learned this by accident when about five years ago the best thing to come out of my garden was the potatoes that grew in the compost heap which was mostly mulch hay. I had just chucked them in there as trash, and they grew the most healthy plants with beautiful, clean potatoes.  The light bulb went on.  Why do all this work with a rototiller?  And then spend your summer bent over pulling out the weeds that you multiplied by a million by chopping them up with the tiller?

The thing about growing stuff this way is that its simplicity is its beauty.  Layers of newspapers underneath, or not, whatever you have, layers of this mulch hay (that we get from Everett in exchange for baked goods, holiday meals, and rides to the supermarket once in a while) and in one seasons time, the grass underneath has rotted into the earth, the newspapers are gone, also turned into earth, and the mulch hay condenses, into earth.  No tilling, no digging, just layering.   And driving Everett to town.

This is another bed waiting for its seedlings.  If you want to add soil, somethings do like to start out in a bit of soil, then add a scoop just where you are going to put your plant or seed.  Not covering the whole bed with soil (which is expensive to bring in, or full of weeds if you dig it from somewhere else on your property), just using a quart or two to get a plant started.

What is that white edging?  When I bought this house it came with an above ground pool in a heap under a tarp in the woods.  These are the rims that would have gone round the top.

The garlic looks great, the first batch of peas is starting to climb the fence, with another batch starting to come up where the pink tape is.  The tape is so that Sadie does not walk through it.  She is a bit of a bulldozer.  To the right of that is another row ready to plant where beans will be.  I don’t think you can see but there is fencing for them to grow up.  If the rain stops I will go out and do that today.  Maybe even if it doesn’t stop I will get out there and plant them.

Its hard to see but the asparagus is starting to get tall.  I have had a few nice meals of it and I think I will let the rest grow out, so as to have a better crop next year.

Yes, the grass needs mowing.  Planting potatoes is more interesting though.