Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The May Two-fer

We had our first holiday weekend of the summer, the May 24th long weekend. This year, some stuff got done, which is so cool.

 FC cleaned out the pond and refilled it. The tortoise pump is working, but he has to fix the fish. I think he'll see the wisdom of covering it up in fall after digging out all the sludge and draining it.
The front door was repainted "Hale Navy". My favorite colour. While I did have alot of comments on the Jack O Lantern orange, this is much more sophisticated. When the new door goes in, it will also be this colour.
The lily-of-the-valley is out in droves. Looks nice on the window with my sheep that I got as a gift.
In knitting news, not alot to report. I made some socks for Miss Mew for the Christmas box, and I got my new skein from BMFA to finish my shawl edging, but other than that, meh.
"hey mum, those are some far-out toenails...."
Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Favorite Things Your Mother Made

Really?  I won't be doing this one, as my mother hated cooking, said so often, and was a fan of the "Snackin' Cake" (it even came with it's own pan to bake it in) and the overcooked peas, fried pork chops and canned veg. The smell of the steamed broccoli alone was vile- so let's not relive those particular memories.

In other news, I have been struggling with TMJ, and finally went to see the doc for some anti-inflammatories. Hopefully this will settle in a week or so, but I have been out of commission in terms of knitting and doing most things.

In case you think it's all down the u-bend, no no no. My darling sister and my dear friend gifted me with (wait for it.....) EMMA BRIDGEWATER!!!!!  Sheep!!!! The one on the left from my sister is Scottish Blackface and on the right is the Jacob from my buddy.  I can't take it. Now, I really need a huge kitchen dresser to put all my treasures in. Oh, and maybe a house large enough to have one.
Isn't this bowl the best?  I have a real thing for these chickens and roosters. I also got a tea towel with this on it. Say Tea is the nicest place ever.

In the official cat department- Miss Mew sent this:
"Chip and dip platters, not just for parties any more..."

Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ten On Tuesday- 10 favorite Albums (You can listen to the whole thing)

This is a week of doctor's appointments and procedures for me and my family. Suffice to say, and I don't mean to offend, I had to drink the gallon of windshield washer fluid and end up with Baboon bum. 'Nuff said.
1. Early Days- Led Zeppelin
2. Latter Days- Led Zeppelin
3. Meddle- Pink Floyd
4. All Loreena McKennitt
5. 20 Years of Jethro Tull
6. Foxtrot- Genesis
7.Yessongs- Yes
8. Goodbye Yellowbrick Road- Elton John
9. Hero & Heroine- Strawbs
10. Any and all  The Smiths.

That's all I could think of. I listen to alot of different music. Lately some King Diamond- who is brilliant.

I don't have alot to show you in terms of knitting- I plan to write up the free sock pattern as soon as I'm done here, and I have to order some more yarn to be dyed for my Mountain Pines shawl. The chickies at BMFA are awesome and I wish I lived in Oregon so I could hang with them.
 Mr. Clawed turned 1 on the 15th.
He is my honey-bear kitty. I just adore him.

Hope you are having some great Spring weather- we finally are.

Fleece out-

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Do To Calm Down

I am like a duck- calm on the outside, but paddling like mad underneath. I don't tend to get as emotional as I used to, but when it happens:

1. A cup of tea. Or a whole pot.
2. Breathe deeply.
3. Wish I still smoked, so I could have a cigarette.
4. Knit.
5. Think of a nice place by the sea.
6. Sort out a drawer.
7. Throw out some stuff.
8. Think of people who have it so much worse.
9. Go for a walk.
10. Have a full-on, snotty cry.

Maybe I just take things more in my stride, and that's another benefit of maturing. 
This is the view of the backyard yesterday. It's cold, and we're supposed to be getting more snow later in the week. Would have been nice in December.
I have had this sheep footstool for a long time. I decided to get her a sheep bell and collar from a livestock supply place- looks amazing.
I spun some Polwarth from Into The Whirled. The colour is Pamukkale.
I am now spinning some Element#5 in BFL. The colours are electric!
I am going great guns on my Gansey- if you look closely you can see the initials over the ribbing.
Clawed says he really isn't chewing at that plant....

Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Superstitions You Believe In

How about 5 I do believe and 5 I don't?

1. I won't have a Ouija board in the house.
2. Never put a hat on a bed.
3. Buildings shouldn't have a 13 floor.
4. Never turn the calendar page until the month is over. (I made that one up)
5. Rabbits are lucky- something to do with the ears.

6. I walk under ladders all the time.
7. Black cats are lucky- not unlucky.
8. crossing your fingers doesn't help.
9. Or your toes....
10. My nose is always itchy and I never come into money.

I have been experiencing some Spring Fever.  I want to throw out everything, but what I really should do is clear my closet of things I will never wear- but I am lacking the energy. I have some projects in various states of completion:
 I have cast on another gansey....
 I am on the second last border chart of Mountain Pines...
 I am also knitting a sock for free publication..
 Almost done this cross stitch pillow....
Doing some spinning....

 And here are some 6 day old babies that Miss Mew is fostering. Black cats are wonderful.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Favorite Things You Have That Are Made of Wood

Good morning. I have had one of my sudden-change-of-weather headaches for the past 3 days. I can predict the weather better than any meteorologist out there. Having a fluffy kitty in your lap helps- it really does.

1.My Schacht-Reeves 30" Spinning wheel.This is Ash. FC got me this for my 50th birthday. I love it, it spins like a dream. Right hand flyer too.
2. Before my father retired, he took up woodworking. I asked him to make me a small bookshelf, and he did this in oak.
3. My dad also did 3 of these, in butternut. I really love it, and it is signed on the back.
4. Also notice, in the picture, an oak lamp (excuse the shade)- which is pure Arts & Crafts- from my sister.
5. This is the china cabinet from my dining room set. The biggest one I could find- in maple. Built by Mennonites (sort of like Amish).
6. My early inheritance from my BFF. It's an old ash laundry basket- looks like it's from a commercial laundry, and I love it. A treasure.
7. My Strauch skeinwinder/swift. This is oak, and it's wonderful.
8. My ballholder thing- in Marblewood.
9. These are my handmodels- you can move the fingers, and I like them just as decoration.

10. My strip hardwood floors.

I love wood- my grandfather was a carpenter who made beautiful things- clocks, signs, he was a master. My dad was really influenced by him, and I am happy to have a few of his pieces.

I've been doing a bit of spinning, and I finished these striped socks. Not much else to report.

Have a fantastic week, and hopefully this headache will have shifted by then.
Right, Clawed?

Fleece out.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Some Toronto History...and knitting

Last year, through the generosity of my sister and her friends, I was able to do a photo shoot for one of my Fair Isle designs. It took place in the historic Studio Building in Toronto's Rosedale Valley.  The inspiration was this:
"The West Wind" was Tom Thomson's last full size painting before his mysterious death in Algonquin Park.  There was also a film made, and as I was watching it, I was struck by how powerful the art is.  So I came up with this:
And a bit later, was allowed to take pictures in one of the studios where, no doubt, Tom Thomson himself stood many years ago.
And the pattern is now available on Ravelry. 

So, here it is, March 1.  Looks as if we're going to be hit with a storm later today, but on Sunday it was 14C.  This has been a very odd winter.

I have been working on my Mountain Pines shawl and loving it. I have completed the center and picked up around the sides to do the edging. I seem to be a little tree-obsessed.

Mr. Clawed watches TV. I have seen him doing this many times, and I'm sure his favorite is Coronation Street.

Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ten On Tuesday-10 Of My Favorite Things Right Now

...does that remind you of

When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad


I admit I am not a huge fan of musicals- unless it was "Tommy" which was a rock opera.

1. I am loving winter.
2. I have a boatload of fiber to spin:
3. There are some wonderful shows on. If you're watching the Shetland series, the 6th is in 6 parts, and Jimmy Perez has a love interest, ooooooooh!
4. Vera is fantastic- and I'm up to date on those too.
My Paperwhite Narcissus- smells gorgeous.
6. My knitting mojo is here, and I'm loving it.
7. FC makes me a yogurt smoothie every morning. Whatta guy!
8. I am making my way through a stack of great books.
9. Everyone on my radar is happy and healthy-
10. My fridge is nice and clean.

We went and got our fleeces from Wellington Fibres.

It is amazing to me that you drop off a sheep fleece and come out with a bag of heaven (not instantly- it takes time). I realized that I would never get through combing or processing those fleeces for spinning, and now I have wonderful Dorset Down roving to spin and just enjoy. They are absolutely the nicest people at Wellington, and I am thrilled.
This is what a Dorset Down looks like. Not easy to find here, there are smaller Baby Doll Dorsets. "Down" refers to the area it came from,  but I think they are the cutest of sheep. Mine is grey, an odd mutation.
This is a CVM (aka Romeldale) and a handspinners dream.

These are my 2 CVM (California Variegated Mutant) fleeces- Buddy and Slocum.
This weeks cat picture is brought to you by Miss Mew, who has this lovely foster baby at home now. My guys seem to be missing in action.

(Really) fleecin' out.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

First-World Gansey

Old Man Winter certainly has a few tricks up his sleeve (or wherever he keeps them) because it's colder than a witches you-know-what out there. I have been checking the windows and there is no condensation or water on the sills, so I guess that was money well spent.

I am up early as Mr. Clawed was whirring in my face. Not exactly a meow, but a sound he makes in his throat. He even wakes himself up doing it, and usually I find it cute and charming. FC discovered a cache of mousies under the tv room sofa, and Howard was doing his war cry with one in his mouth in the pitch dark. I was looking for my 5th DPN under there, which was behind my ear. We also found a Glossette raisin.

My Whitby Gansey is done. This is a proud moment in a knitters life. The last (and only) other gansey I have completed, Eriskay,  was done in 1999, according to my Ravelry notebook. It was, and is, a completely patterned and challenging project as the chest pattern is all different and a bit of a pain to keep track of. Also done on 3mm needles, in Navy.

In comparison, this one was a walk in the park. The pattern was easy to memorize and I really enjoyed working with the yarn, although I will say that in comparison, I prefer the Frangipani over the Wendy Guernsey, as there were knots and quite a bit of chaff in it. Odd. But the Atlantic blue is a nice colour and I used 8 balls, so just shy of 2000 yds.
The shoulder detail: I cast off the shoulders on the right side after doing the ridge and furrow (rig and fur, it's meant to represent a plowed field, as many fishermen were also crofters). I special ordered the nacre buttons from Italy, and am fairly pleased with how the rope cables merged with the collar pick up. Love the flags too.

You can see the flags and the back part of the rig and fur. I had thought that I would mirror-image the cables, but I read that Sailors are superstitious of mirror-imaging, so it's not traditional.  I guess if I was in a boat on the North Sea, or maybe a smaller vessel loaded with men in dark water, I wouldn't want to tempt fate in any way.
So it blocked out nicely, no gathering at the patterning edge (cables can pull-in) and I am really pleased. So much so, I am planning another one. This time in Falmouth Navy.
I finished my Whoville socks that I began in December. Despite having a enough yarn and fiber to sink a boat (see what I did there?) I always go through the ritual (torture)of deciding what I will do next. My fleeces that I sent to the mill are ready too- so my buddy and I will make a trip to get them.

This would definitely be classed as a First-world problem.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Winter That Isn't

Ten on Tuesday this week was 10 moments or days you would want to relive. Hmmm.  Besides the obvious, like wedding day (uh, no) or birth of children (please, no) then I can't expand on that.

Happy Groundhog Day. Punxutawney Phil did not see his shadow, so there will be an early Spring.  Maybe it's here already because they are forcasting 11 C this week.  Winnipeg Willy passed away, so no information there.  But aren't groundhogs just a little bit cute? So fat and furry.

In knitting news, I have completed half a sleeve on my Whitby gansey.
What you don't see is that the back is completed and the collar. There will be two buttons to the left of the collar. I had to McGyver the pattern a bit, as I realized that the sleeve chart needs to be worked upside down as well as the cables reversed i.e. K6Back instead of front.

I have been doing some reading about Ganseys, which are fascinating bits of history and folklore. Alot of myths as well.

A historic photo of a felon, wearing a lizard patterned gansey. Hubba hubba!

-Known as Guernseys, sometimes Jerseys, or Knit-frocks. Basically, gansey means a sweater or jumper.
- the buttons on the collar are preferred to be on the left, as a sailor got his rope caught on the right side in his buttons and fell into the sea and drowned.
- a sailor perishing at sea could be identified by his gansey, as certain patterns could be associated with the area he was from. Myth. Unless the initials were on his garment, patterns were not exclusive to his village.
- the garment is worked in the round, split after the half underarm gusset, fronts and backs worked back and forth, then the shoulder was done and collar.  Sleeves are picked up and worked from shoulder to cuff. This makes it easier to replace a worn out sleeve. Alot of the time you will only see patterning on the upper chests and sleeves. This was because the men wore high trousers,and the patterning would not be seen. It  was thought the patterning kept the chest and upper arms warmer.
-they were not just worn by fishermen, but also canal and boat workers.
-gauges ranged from12 spi all the way down to 7 spi. They were worked on long needles (14") or several shorter ones.
-the cast on is done with the yarn doubled, as well as the cast off.
-Mother-of-pearl or Nacre buttons are traditional. Not all have buttons.
-they are not waterproof, but rather repelled water due to the firmness of the fabric.  The 5ply that we use today is smooth (worsted spun), and not very soft.
-Traditional colour is Navy, however a cream one would often be worn as Sunday Best or even for his wedding.
-they last a long time, and can withstand alot of wear and tear.
-patterns represent everyday life -steps, marriage lines, ropes, anchors, stars, tree of life, etc.

Hopefully, I will have this done in a few weeks. I am actually thinking about doing another- my last one was completed over 10 years ago. Crazy.

Clawed is schmutzing. Kitten Chow used to do this alot, and I had to buy those Mr. Clean Magic Clean things to get it off.

Fleece out.