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-


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

So Much To Share

So the TdF is winding down. I have my last lot of singles to ply and I will be done. I think I will make some socks with this years yarn- but that may change.
 This is from my 2014 Fat Cat Club fiber, Hula and Bellydance plied together.
And this is BFL/Nylon Headpsin and Jitterbug.

I was sorting through my fiber stash and I decided that I would do a post about what fiber and dyers I like, and why I like them.  Four years ago, when I was a new spinner- I really had no idea what kind of things I wanted to spin, and who I should purchase from.  Not that I am an expert by any means, but I learned a thing or two since, and I wanted to share.  I am a sharer (no- not really)-

1. As you may have guessed because I'm on the TdF team, Fat Cat Knits, is my favorite dyer.  Ginny always has something new and exciting, and offers alot of bases. She also is wonderful and open to custom dying anything that you may dream up, as well as having an extensive choice of semi-solid colours.  Her Mixed Blessing clubs are wonderful, and usually have a theme.  I think this is where she excels- two colours that when plied become magic.  I have never been disappointed with anything I have got from her- and I have GOT ALOT.
Yes, that is one of Rubbermaids larger receptacles*- and this doesn't include what I have spun over the years.  I have also had the pleasure of meeting Ginny on a few occasions and she has a warped kind of humour that I love.

*what movie am I referencing? (it is one of our more modest receptacles...)

2. Next has to be Mary Ann at Three Waters Farm in North Carolina.  Again, always something new and exciting, and her colours are clear and vibrant.  I have ordered SQ's (sweater quantities) of her BFL and one is spun up.  She also works with Lynn Vogel and has exclusive colorways available.  If I won some money, and if there was any left over from buying Ginny out- I would head to Chapel Hill and do some damage.

3. This dyer I discovered early on, and I am in love with her presentation and colors. Into The Whirled,
(clever eh?) is from New York state, and I saw her booth at Rhinebeck (can't remember whether it was before or after the panic attack)- and she has become really successful. To the point where there is a waiting list to join her fiber club (classic and luxe).  I found a kind soul on Ravelry who sold me some of her past club colours, and I do buy the occasional braid.
I got these for a steal.  I want to hoard it all and roll in it.  (but I won't as it may matt the fibers).

4. This Etsy seller, Friends in Fiber is a very creative, as well as extremely nice. (Nice goes a long way in my playpen).  She does some unbelievable gradients, as well as some Autumn shades that I could certainly make room for.
5. This dyer has been around a while, and I am sure most spinners have some in their stash, or have spun with it. Woolgatherings  does some really innovative colorways, She doesn't however, name them, as many dyers do. She also sells exquisite undyed fibers, so if you are looking for a good place to start, you really can't go wrong here.
I am a fan of Polwarth and BFL.  Merino, not so much.

Next time, I will cover some other dyers that are not to be missed. This has all been in the interest of market research, and having a large stash is a public service. Ya.

I have been doing some knitting. I made another mousy.
This is Ice Princess Mousy.
This is before assembly. She has sparkly balls on her head.

I have started a Stripe Study shawl with my Georgian Bay Fiber BFL- and I was trying to think what the darker red pink reminded me of.


Remember those strawberry marshmallows? The kind that you can only eat a few of?

And I know you want a critter pic- this is my new pet bunny:
He's a baby that lives in the backyard.  I haven't seen his mummy, so I hope he isn't orphaned.

Ok- fleecin' until next time.

*answer- The Big Lebowski when they are arranging Donny's funeral.










Monday, July 7, 2014

My 4th Tour De Fleece

Tour de Fleece started on Saturday.  For those of you that are not familiar, it is an event that runs concurrently with the Tour de France, and you spin and rest on the same days as the race. It is great fun, and an excuse to challenge yourself with spinning.  The first 2 I did, I burned myself out, but I am setting a reasonable goal. Besides, when the weather is hot, what better than being inside where it's cool, and spinning some yarn?
Tino is my mascot. Howard eats fibre, and is thereby disqualified.
Saturday was gorgeous, and we went for a drive to Lake Rosseau.  I wanted to visit Georgian Bay Fibre Company, and I sure wasn't disappointed. Carla has a repurposed shipping container for her shop, and just look at all the amazing colours.
I got some of her BFL fingering weight for a shawl, and these pinks are limited edition colours for the summer.  I also got 2 braids of fiber- it is TdF after all.  They have a little Bichon, Tosh, and it was wonderful meeting them and seeing her setup.  Her colours are inspired by the landscapes of Northern Ontario- and Muskoka is truly beautiful.  What could be better?

 I finished some socks for Mr. Man.
 I made this adorable mousie- the pattern is here, and is alot of fun.
And  the boys have made a bed out of my basket that has my handspun and quilting projects.  I didn't have the heart to serve them with eviction papers.

Ok- fleecin' out for now.