Tuesday, March 23

Yipee Spring

Well it's cooled down to normal Springtime temps here but, not before I got really excited & started seeds.  Nature is amazing!  These teeny tiny specks get put into the dirt & with a little water & sunlight they will eventually be big beautiful flowers (haven't started my veggies yet)
Here are 2 pics a mere week apart - they really grow up fast don't they?

The left one is from 3/18 and the one on the right is 3/22!

So far I have poppies, cosmos, zinnias and a wild flower cutting garden mix.
The beautiful weather was also a great time to get some new yarn outside to dry...

 Can you tell I've been thinking Spring?

I'd love to hear & see what other people are planting - please share!

Tuesday, March 9

A harbinger

It's been in the high forties here all week.  A welcome change from the recent and crazy snows.  I'm sure we have at least one more good snow before Spring is here to stay but, at least I feel hopeful that is around a not too distant corner. 
I've been thinking about taking out my seed packets and starter boxes.  Possibly most disturbing I have been dreaming about tomatoes. Yup, tomatoes. 

I have restrained myself all Winter (with admittedly only a few slip ups) from buying tomatoes at the grocery store.  I love tomatoes - I mean really.  I am one of those people who can eat a tomato like an apple and thinks there is nothing better in the Summer than a cucumber & tomato cut up with a little salt, pepper & vinegar.  Every time I buy a tomato out of season at the grogery store I am dissapointed by the styrofoam-y tasteless substance masquerading as a perfect fruit.

Today, another trip to the grocery store brought me home with bag full of carrots, beets, turnips & potatoes, those resilient root vegetables of Northern climates that always remind me of the fingers of the hands that grew them 

When getting out of the car, I saw it....

The years's first crocus!  

I almost criedIt means I can take out my seeds & growing boxes, Crockett's Victory Gardens & Alys Fowler's Garden Anywhere. It will be hard for me to buckle down and get some "real" work done today - but I will.  Soon enough though I will have tiny seedlings in the window and yarn drying in the sun instead of in front of fans.  That first tomato, still months away suddenly seems worth waiting for.

Welcome back old friend!

Tuesday, March 2

Follow the Fiber - The spinner

Well, not too long ago 4 oz of lovely Merino fiber was handed from Cris of Into The Whirled into my itchy little fingers.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on it!
The (almost) final destination of the fiber is Cal who will crochet it into something fabulous.  I decided for her I'd make a nice balanced 2 ply  with not too long color repeats.

After undoing the nice tight daisy chain it was in for neat keeping I split the fiber into 2 even parts - one for each ply...
I shot them on a blanket I crocheted a million years ago because I couldn't believe how similar the colors were!  Did you plan that Cris?
 My next step was to split each of those 2 balls into quarters. Why quarters, you ask? Like most humans I'm a creature of habit and have found this thickness to be both easy to draft and a nice break up of the colors.
Next stop, my Lendrum folding double treadle spinning wheel 
I LOVE this wheel!  The green yarn hanging out is called a leader, it's a scratchy wool (I use Icelandic) that's used to pull the top into the wheel.  I spun two singles clockwise with a lot of twist because when I ply them they get twisted counter clockwise and will lose some of the twist I spin into them at this point.
I love watching the way the colors "change" from top to singles, a two ply and finally a finished piece.
The singles then get put on my Lazy Kate and the regular head gets traded out for the plying head on the wheel.
The plying head has a much wider orifice and larger bobbin to accommodate more & thicker yarnThe drive band also gets changed to fit the larger head.
This little device has made my life SO much easier - what it is meant for is to count fishing line depth - what I use it for is as a yardage meter.  I use a niddy noddy to wrap the yarn off the wheel, through the meter into nice neat hanks.

For yarns destined for my shop, I wait for a nice sunny day and with the help of a stratigically placed roll of white craft paper I shoot (what feels like) a million pictures from lots of different angles to show the most true representation of the color.

I use Photoshop to crop & do any clean up or color correcting and finally the yarn is ready to be made into something that I hope will be loved for years to come!

I am lucky enough to have amzing customers who have shared their finished projects with me.  It is always so interesting & fun to see what the yarn "grows up" to be.  I know in Cal's talented paws it will be something amazing!  You can follow the fiber on the next step in its journey at her blog 
I know I will be!