Saturday, October 18, 2014

Have a Nice Trip, See Ya Next Fall

Happy Saturday. I have a routine that doesn't change every Saturday. I get up (I do!), do the teeth and the  hair, feed the kittens, turn the heat lights on for the dragons, make tea, get dressed, start the laundry, sit down with my tea, read The Globe and do the crossword.  I love the crossword, and the Suduko. 

This weekend is a few things, Rhinebeck, Woodstock and my son's birthday.  He is going to see King Diamond tonight- we got him his ticket and some cash for a t-shirt.  I can't believe he is 26 today. My baby.

I will not be attending Rhinebeck, as I have been once and that was enough.  I will, however, be doing some spinning in the spirit of the festival-
This is some Into The Whirled BFL/Nylon in her "Rhinebeck" color. That's as close as I want to get.

I did indeed bring back some fibery goodness from Vermont a few weeks ago- some sparkly roving caught my eye- this reminded me of snow:
I also wanted some Cormo, and got some, but it's mixed with some other breeds, a bit random, but oh-so-soft:
I have been finishing some projects.  I have become majorly sidetracked by making these adorable animals from Little Cotton Rabbits (see sidebar).
This one was a gift for Miss Mew- cupcake bunny.
And this one is mine- I charted some carrots, and put them around her skirt.  She's getting a Piebald boyfriend, I'm just making his clothes, as this is a family blog, and there will be no NUDE rabbits.
I have just finished these- a free pattern on Ravelry, Opp/Att.  I am using this clever dyers Opposites Attract sock yarn.  How I managed to make 2 the same, I still can't figure out, but darned if I will be frogging.  Alot of fun, and I recommend this yarn.  Fun colours and fun pattern.
Tinnamon Toast Crunch has been a harrassant all week. I think he's afraid I am going to leave him again, and has been a klingon. 

Fleecin' out- have a great week.








Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What Happens In Vermont...

...stays in Vermont.  Because nothing much happens in Vermont.  That was on a t-shirt.  I didn't buy that one, but I got a few from the Vermont Sheep and Wool festival on Saturday.

We left early on Thursday morning and managed to bypass alot of the traffic on the 401.  I never look forward to this kind of drive because the 401 is BORING.  I like looking out the windows, and I tell you, there is very little to see.

After getting messed around in Quebec (quelle suprise!) we crossed at an odd little border station into Vermont.  You're also in New York state for about 2 minutes.

 The first thing you notice once on the highway are the Green Mountains. They're everywhere.

We stayed in White River Junction- a very random little place.  There are no really big cities there.  It's literally a 2 minute drive to New Hampshire- so if you're looking for big box stores, or a chain restaurant, you probably need to go there. We did eat at a local cafe, the Crossroads, and for under 10.00 we got a huge all-day breakfast with real Vermont maple syrup. Maple syrup is everywhere- a huge business in the state.

Friday we went to Manchester, after surviving the bus tour people at breakfast.  They were there from Nashville to look at the leaves.  FC asked if that will ever be us, on a "Making Memories" bus tour. Uh, no. This is high tourist season in October.

We did visit the Vermont Country Store.  It has a little covered bridge outside, which isn't real, and on our whole trip, we only saw one actual covered bridge. They are a little off the beaten tracks- and hard to find.

Tunbridge, Vermont is a small town with a general store, and it has a large fairgrounds where the festival was held. The people in Vermont, not just at the fair, are extremely welcoming and friendly.  And not because they want to sell you something- they take time to chat and ask where you're from and are truly interested.
 This sweet little Jacob sheep was for sale- 225.00 and I could have had a new lawn mower. And lots of fertilizer.
Goats are always funny- this one spied a blueberry muffin on the table.
These are the first Gotland sheep in Vermont, according to the owner. They're March lambs and were just adorable.
Alpaca whispering is one of my hobbies- being a camelid they can spit, but this one was friendly.
And on the way back we got a crappy pic from the car- an old covered bridge. Some of these are really old, and I would hesitate to drive through them.
The kittens were thrilled, as they got to sleep with their brother in his bed. 

Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vroom Vroom

The topic for 10 On Tuesday is 10 cars you have had. I don't think that I have had 10, but I'll tell you about the ones I remember.  I may not have photos of the actual car, but I can jack some from the interwebs.

1.
Not the actual car- but a 1972 Buick Skylark was the first car I bought.  Not exactly a boat, but really comfortable with bench seats. I am laughing at seeing some of them pimped out like hotrods- it wasn't exactly a....

2. Firebird.

Mine was a 1978- red with orange stripes and white upholstery.  I even had fuzzy dice. OMG.

3. I drove a series of crappy Flintstone cars. I learned to drive a stickshift, bypassing first gear.
4. I bought a brand new 1985 Subaru GL-
Mine was also silver, and we called it "Scooby Doo".
5. I had a Dodge Caravan, which I hated. I called it the Bozo Bus because everyone would say "oh you have room for so-and-so". Got rid of that crapcan in a hurry.
6. I loved my Jeep Cherokee, champagne colour.  Had problems with a porous block so it turned out to be a gas sucking lemon.  I think there was a Dodge Neon in there somewhere.
7. A 1998 Ford Explorer- Wedgwood Blue.
We called it "The Exploder".
8. A 2000 Pontiac Grand Am.  Millenium Silver.
9. And now I drive a 2008 Volkswagon Rabbit.  I think this is my favorite vehicle of all.


Here's the actual car, behind FC's actual shitbox.  Psst- don't tell him I called it that. Guys are SO sensitive about their cars.

Fleece out. Oh, and happy Equinox!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

10 On Tuesday- Ten Things You Do to Get Your Home Ready For Fall


I'm guessing this topic is for people who like to decorate seasonally.  I used to- but I never went as far as the wheat sheaves and hay bales.  I have a simple wreath on my front door.

1. I bake. After a hot summer (ok, not so hot but I don't bake in any month that doesn't have an "r" in it).
Pumpkin Pie bread.
2. Wash all mattress pads and duvets.  Vacuum and flip mattresses.
3. Wash outside windows- I did that yesterday.
4. Usually, begin a sweater.  I have started mine, Gnarled Oak Cardigan.
I am using handspun this year.
5. Plan Christmas gifts, but this year will be alot less.  I am only buying for the kinders and FC.
6. I am all booked for this year's wool event, being Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival.
7. Clear out clothes- 2 large bags to Goodwill. Ahhhh!
8.  Buy a new lipstick- because, why not? New York Apple this time.
9. Clean out fridge and freezer. Turkeys will be on sale soon, and I need space. I took everything out of the fridge upstairs and washed down the shelves, and the bottom mount freezer. As well as the chest freezer downstairs.
10. Go for walks, and enjoy AUTUMN!!!!!!!
Spelt pear muffins- amazing.




I have finished my girl Fox, and she also has a cardigan to match her dress.
There is an opening in the back of the dress which is hysterical.  I'm pretty pleased with her.

The kittens are MIA this morning. Tino is probably upstairs by the bathroom door waiting for his hero Alex to get out of the shower. 

And today, I'm going to get Superworms for the dragons,  It's a full life.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

10 On Tuesday- Ten Books That Stayed With You Long After You Read Them

This may be a very diverse list.

"No sense makes sense"
Charles Milles Manson

1. Helter Skelter.:  I am a huge true-crime reader. The opening sentence says "this book will scare the hell out of you".  It will.  I don't think in any way that it glorifies or tries to justify what happened on the nights of August 9 and 10th , 1969, in Los Angeles.  But it changed the world.
Written by the prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi, who to some, comes across to some as arrogant and egotistical, this book will indeed stay with you.  Forever.

2. A Question Of Guilt: The murder of Nancy Eaton.  This took place in Toronto, and examines the problem of those with mental illness, and how something like this could happen.  If you know Toronto, you know the Eaton name as well as the Oslers, whom the killer was related to.

3. Four Days In November: Many questions remain unanswered about the assassination of JFK.  This is an excerpt from the more comprehensive Reclaiming History, and follows a timeline of what happened, who was there and when.  Again, Bugliosi writes so that you will not want to put this down.  The theory is that Oswald acted alone, and backs up those claims.

4. In case you think I spend my reading time solving cold cases- September by Rosamund Pilcher. If you really want to have some great escapism, start with Coming Home, September and Winter Solstice. Pilcher brings her characters and scenery to life- but they aren't schmaltzy.  I reread this in September- maybe not every year, but this one.  I enjoy it every time.

5. Where The Wild Things Are.  Max's journey to the land of the wild things.  Completely charming, and a masterpiece of artwork.  I have fond memories of reading this to my son, and in fact, his nickname is another Maurice Sendak boy- Bumble Ardy.

6. Another subject that I am fascinated by is the downshifters, or those that live on the land.  This book is a contemporary one, and fairly new, Adventures In Yarn Farming, by Barbara Perry.  This chronicles the year on a sheep farm, with all it's joys, and sometimes mess.  For those of us who dream of it, or have yet to make the leap, this is almost as good as the real deal.

7. Tasha Tudor's Heirloom Crafts.  To those who know the author and children's illustrator, Tasha Tudor, she was a women who lived life exactly as she wanted.  In fact, she felt most comfortable in the 1830's, and her home, dress and lifestyle reflected this.  This will make you question our fast-paced, high speed world, and find joy in simple pleasures.

8. Woodswoman, continuing on. Anne LaBastille not only dreamed it, she lived it. Deep in the Adirondacks, she built 2 homes, and made a living as a Guide and a writer. Sadly, she passed away, but these books are a wonderful legacy to an extraordinary woman.

9 and 10: Sylvia's Farm, I came across this book on a remainder pile, and it is my comfort "feel-good" book.  Sylvia Jorrin lives on a farm in the Catskill mountains, and has a huge pile of a mansion. She accidentally got into sheep farming over 20 years ago, and chronicles life on Greenleaf here, but if you read this and want more, and you will, she has published this.  I ran into her at my visit to Rhinebeck, and she is a tiny little woman, but so fascinating.
I am making a girl fox doll- just doing her dress and a cardigan. Whether she will have the male companion remains to be seen, as this entails alot of detailed work, more than the mice.
And here is some fuzzy kitty feelings- Valentino- who truly cares about nothing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August, Die She Must

 August, die she must,
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold;
September I'll remember.
A love once new has now grown old.


"April, Come She Will"- Paul Simon

This may be a picture/link heavy post.  It's become hot and humid, and will be for the next few days.  I guess we had to get it at some point, but I was hoping we wouldn't have to turn on the a/c.  Oh well.

Miss Mew had her birthday, just a small get-together. Last year I made her the litter-box cake, which is probably just missing the acceptable taste-barrier, so this year, something different.
Kitty cupcakes. Jelly-tot noses and Swedish fish in the mouth. Chocolate, of course.
They were a hit with the Birthday girl.
We even had a visitor- I'm pretty sure it was a Baltimore Oriole.
On Saturday, we went to Black Creek Pioneer Village.
I haven't been there since I was in grade school- and for some reason, it seemed alot bigger, not smaller like you usually remember.  This is not an actual village, but the buildings are authentic, having been moved there from various places in Ontario.  There is a doctor's house, a weavers, tavern (they brew Black Creek Ale) a printing place with old presses, and the guides look like villagers.
One of the old looms was set-up for overshot weaving.  In the back is a warp swift.
They have a small flock of Border Leicester sheep- who seemed friendly.
She was very social- they shear, wash, dye and spin the fleeces.  There were several spinning wheels in and around the different buildings.  One place, a house, creeped me out so bad when I went upstairs, I was a bit shaken up.  Then one of the guides told me it freaked her out too.  Odd.

I am making a Fox doll.  This lady writes the most comprehensive patterns for various animals, and I got the Piebald (patchy) rabbit, as well as this lady fox.  Here's what the head looked like before somebody got it last night.  These are alot of work- intarsia and embroidery, but I like a challenge.  As I said, there is no guessing, the patterns are very well done.

I came across this blog- and have spent a while reading her archives.  It is pure delight to those of us who dream of keeping a small farm and spinners flock.  Her photography and photo captions are superb- and the baby pictures of her sheep Maisy were featured on Buzzfeed.  I have never seen a cuter lamb- but then they are all cute (PPPP- Popcorn Pee-Pee Pants and Chocula)- as well as cats and dogs.
I hope to get one of her calendars for 2015.

Valentino's head is upside down.  So far, no one is owning up to ravaging the fox head, but it has HOWARD written all over it.

Fleece out- and happy September!




Thursday, August 28, 2014

This Week...and Dickie Darling

- is Laura's birthday, who is 23.  Where did the time go?
- the weather turned humid and horrible.
-but who cares because it's the end of August
- I finished a pair of handspun/handknit socks in BFL/Nylon
This yarn was spun during Tour de Fleece.  I have more yarn, and will make more socks.

On Sunday, sadly, Richard Attenborough passed away. Many people will know him as the Santa in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street, or the old gentleman in Jurassic Park, but I want to revisit some of his earlier and most interesting performances. This was a man who was incapable of a bad performance and could creep you out as well as make you laugh.

Brighton Rock-
 he played the hoodlum, Pinkie, in the movie adapted from the Graham Greene novel. I have not seen the remake, but this is a realistic thriller, and Hermione Badley also plays a great part.

The Angry Silence. A dark and disturbing look at Unions, and what can happen when you don't follow the crowd. Pier Angeli plays his wife, and there is a small part by a young Oliver Reed.
Seance on a Wet Afternoon. Notice the nose prosthesis- he plays Billy, a man who wants to please his demanding self-professed psychic wife, who devises a scheme to kidnap a child, so that she can "help" the authorities find her.  Thus gain notoriety.  It doesn't quite go to plan.
The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom.  Richard plays the part of Robert Blossom, a brassiere manufacturer whose bored wife (Shirley MacLaine) Harriet, hides her lover in the attic.  This is one of my all-time favorite films, because it's VERY '60's, the house is exquisite (on Howard's Lane in Putney)- her Zandra Rhodes costumes- and it's also very funny. Look for Bob Monkhouse (as the eccentric Psychiatrist), Barry Sullivan (Dame Edna) as well as Patricia Routledge (Hyacinth Bucket).  The New Vaudeville band at the party is simply hysterical.
James Booth plays Ambrose Tuttle, her lover. The fantasy scenes are the greatest, and oh, it's just a wonderful, feel good movie.
And lastly, 10 Rillington Place.
The true story of a psychopathic murderer, who, in the course of a series of murders, kills the wife and daughter of Timothy Evans, and sends Timothy to his death by hanging for something he didn't do. As creepy as this is, the film was actually filmed in Rillington Place before they tore it down.  That site- Reel Streets is a gold mine- click when you have a few hours to spend.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of Richard Attenborough's performances, but some that I think are worthwhile. So sad to see "Dickie Darling" as he was known to friends, pass. He would have been 91 tomorrow.
Mrs. Blossom, wearing a giant paper flower.  Such style.

Have a great long weekend- I'll be fleecin'.















Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Perils of Boredom

It always happens at this time of the year. I don't exactly know why- but maybe it's years of being conditioned to new beginnings in September.  Not sure.  All I know is, I am bored, and that can be a dangerous thing.

I have always maintained that the dangerous people in the world are the ones who have not much else to do, and that's when trouble usually starts.  You notice it with teenagers and older people (of which I am neither).  Kids who have summer jobs, or a community center, or some kind of interest aren't normally the ones in trouble. With retired people, they cut the grass 3 times a week, and poke their snout into the neighbors trough, where it has no business being.  I mean, how much of "The Price Is Right" can a person endure before they go completely insane?

It's not that extreme for me.  I always have something that I need or want to do.  For example, I deep-cleaned the kitchen yesterday. Yes, cupboards, oven, drawers- now I can do some baking without having to move 20 things.  Conditions have to be right before I can enjoy the process.
Some of the collections are a bit crazy. I thought I had about a dozen Bridgewater mugs. It turns out I have 23. The cool thing is, she does limited editions, and very cleverly brings out new things. She is like a druglord- gateway mugs, and before you know what hit you, you've got teapots and butter dishes. It never ends.  Tea towels too- that's another one. Like crack. I look in Say Tea's window to get my fix.
I realized that I didn't show you my new Beswick sheep- my sister gave me the ram on the far right, but I scored the sheep family at an antique show. (I shouldn't go to these things as there is always something brought back.....). 

I have been knitting. Currently I am working on a Gnarled Oaks sweater. I originally spun this yarn for a shawl, but it's perfect for this pattern. So I spun up some more.

I am more than halfway up the body.
I made some bags that will hold a sweater's worth of yarn.  I have a boatload of bags, and am doing more.
As I am typing, I have a helper who is giving his thoughts on blog content.  He thinks it's time for a few changes.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Trouble With The Trees

There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.


Rush- "The Trees"

No 10 on Tuesday, as the subject is "10 Patterns You could Knit Again, and Again".  Well, apart from socks and mittens, I very rarely knit anything twice, so I don't have anything to contribute there.  However, I am planning a knitting project for early fall, and it ties into my subject.

My backyard is really beautiful- not that I am taking alot of credit.  I have an amazing hosta garden, and there is a pussywillow tree, as well as a shade garden, and a small pond.  Not huge, but manageable. There are also a couple of ash trees that have died, due to the insidious Emerald Ash Borer.  Kind of a pretty looking insect, isn't it?  It has destroyed the trees, many years old, and the only shade I have in the back.

By the time we knew what it was, it was too late.  There are only leaves on the ends of the branches, as this bug hollows out the tree from the inside, robbing it of moisture.  In order to save them, we would have had to do something about it last year- last year they looked healthy.
This is actually one tree- a split trunk.  I am a bit more upset than I am letting on.  I am not the only one- there are thousands of ash trees that have died in Toronto, a well as my neighbours trees.  True, it isn't the prettiest tree- I like maples and oaks (pretty much all trees except for those horrid locusts)- but they are large, and majestic, and provided shade.  Well, no more.  They have to come down before they fall down. This is costing alot, both in terms of money and beauty.

So, because Autumn is coming (oh yes it is!) I am going to make a Gnarled Oak cardigan.  I think I love planning and putting together a project almost as much as knitting it.  I have ordered some oak buttons from an Etsy seller*, and will be using this:
I have most of it spun up- it's Fat Cat Knits BFL, in her Sugared Beets colour. It's hard to see, but there are deep burgundies, hints of gold and even sage green. 
The pattern is in this book, and it's the same author of "Botanical Knits".  I love any patterns that have leaves in them, and I have a collection of shawl patterns that feature them, as well as suitable green yarns.  One day I may even knit one of them.
Mr. Tino is happy that Tour De Fleece is over, as he is feeling somewhat neglected.

Fleece out, and give a tree a hug.

* I ordered some Larch buttons too-