Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Yarn Along

The sweet friend for whom I am knitting the purple Elder Tree prayer shawl is due with her fourth baby on Dec. 2 but will be induced this Friday due to complications from BP/preeclampsia. It is her fourth baby and second round with preeclampsia so it's not a panic but it is a bit disheartening for her. This means I am monogamously knitting to "finish" that piece by Thursday morning and I am hopeful I can send it in her hospital bag come Friday. It is supposed to have about 12-13 leaves down the middle spine and I am currently at 10 1/2. Beth, if you're reading this, save room!!

I'm not reading much at the moment though I have started so many books! I am trying, as I knit, to catch up on lovely podcasts, Handmade and Woolen and Crafthouse Magic being two of my current favorites. There's also Meanwhile at the Castle still in my queue.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Apple Days

Laird's Applejackery :: natural apples :: hennypenny :: sweet Mary :: by the bucket 
 Buster the orchard dog :: saving for later :: guinea hen

Now that I have resurfaced from the deep dark depths of apples, I can tell you all about it. 

My sweet friend Mary is currently renting from a friend who has apple trees, bearing more apples than he can possibly use in even this bad {late frost} year. He doesn't spray them, so not only are they "organic" they are completely chemical free!

Julian and I traveled to a commercial apple orchard early in our marriage, at my insistence, regardless of the fact that Julian said I wouldn't enjoy it. I didn't. No, not one bit. It was a complete tourist trap, with apples so heavily laden that they hung there perfectly on the trees with not a divet, a dimple, with nary an imperfection to be seen. And not a bird in sight because there was not a bug in sight. Because bugs and birds and bees like apples just the same as we, and don't they have a right to? 

That ain't right, folks. Apples grown in nature LOOK like things that grew in nature. (End rant.)

You can imagine how much fun this was for me.

I grew up on homemade applesauce throughout the winter and always try to acquire apples enough to put up one quart per week of winter (13). In addition, if I can make a few apple pies or put up enough sliced apples for a few winter pies, I'm so much the better. So I picked and picked, enjoyed my time with sweet Mary, and came home with about 80lbs of apples. 

Into the freezer went apples enough for three pies, fifteen quarts of applesauce, and four quarts of grated apples for breads or cakes or fritters. I made a fresh apple pie and THEN took 30lbs to my sister in law and made at least one batch of apple sauce with her, put sliced apples in the freezer for a winter pie AND baked a fresh pie!

How about yourself? Have you had a chance to enjoy apple season before pumpkin season swamps us entirely?

Friday, October 7, 2016

For the shore...

Birds pictured in order: yellow-crowned night heron, juv.; gulls, mixed flock; brown pelicans; american kestrel; ruddy turnstone, non-breeding plumage

There's so much to worry about in life these days -- no one needed a hurricane, I can tell you that. While it looks like much of Virginia will be spared the brunt,  we still will get wind and rain while our friends to the south aren't so fortunate.

I am reminded of when Katrina hit New Orleans and my best friend was living there at the time. She evacuated with a basket of laundry and not much else only to come back to nothing. I cannot begin to imagine what I would take if I needed to do the same? What would fit? What would I take only to then regret taking because it took the room of the thing I did not take and wish that I had?

There's nothing to be done now but pray and wait, so here's hoping for the best for anyone impacted, especially sweet Tracey whose home on the ocean has buoyed many a spirit and fed many a soul.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Yarn Along - Birthday Cast On

That top picture there shows a stone bench where we sat long enough to let the cold rock chill the sweat that dripped down our spines as we climbed up the ravine to that point. This was how I spent my birthday, scrambling up the sides of mountains chasing views of waterfalls and wondering how I became so out of shape and prone to aching. "More of this and more often," we kept promising to each other.

I bought a sweater's worth of Knit Pick Galileo in "gem" almost a year ago now with the idea of casting on a short row sweater only I never actually got around to it. The project starts off with a bang: 342 sts cast on and then an inch of K2P2 rib. I didn't like the idea of such a posh seeming sweater being edged with rib so I have now cast on as a birthday treat challenge to myself and I am going about it in linen stitch. Wow. Linen stitch.

It is 61F here today and we have anxiously watched about this hurricane. I think it now will miss us even though just 24 hours ago it was supposed to go right over us! I was on the schedule for the chimney sweep today but he has just called to say that he was incorrectly booked and is currently over two hours away across the state. I'd have told him what I thought a little more plainly but they are hard to come by in this neck of the woods - seems it is a dying art - so I was as polite as I could sand to be, knowing that we will have no glowing fires now for 20 more days at least.

What's keeping you busy? Want to show and tell? Join Ginny and the others for Yarn Along!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Restorative home.

The days are so very short here. We have glimmering moments of the summer days of our youth, when the air is crisp but the sun is warm. Football days, I call them, because that's what they are and what they should be.

I'm overwhelmed by all the things I want to get done. This is a constant state of my life. I read an article about the level of stress a woman carries and its connection to her material possessions. The study asks its participants to verbally describe their home as if they were giving a tour. The number of words used to describe a cluttered home and a restorative home were noted, then compared to the cortisol levels of the women who used them. Not surprisingly, the women who had cluttered homes, or described them as such, had higher levels of the stress hormone. This makes so much sense to me.

So, I am dispossessing a great many things. I am not a person who does this easily. I started with my closet and instead of hauling it all to Goodwill, I took several of my smaller sized career pieces to a friend. It felt very hard to do at the time, but the fact that she appreciated them so much fueled my refining fire. Now I look at my closet and wonder why I didn't take more.

I am working now on my craft space and the boxes from our old house that probably should have never made the trip in the first place. It is stressful for me, but I had this realization that the craft space would be so much more lean if I would just DO the project that I set out to get done in the first place, instead of just hoarding the requirements. Then instead of storing yards and yards of fabric and batting and thread (and, and, and) I could store a quilt, on a rack or on a bed, and bring beauty to my home instead of clutter.

A restorative home. Yes, please. To be continued...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Yarn Along - A giveaway!


I'm convalescing today -- and not in a knitty way -- with a bee sting between two of my knuckles and one on my wrist. Let me tell you one thing - swollen knuckles feel about as good as they look. Bad.

So I am reading and spending way too much time zapping my brains on the internet. Nevertheless, lots of yarn-y goodness is still happening. I had the opportunity to collaborate with Lisa from Happy In Dole Valley on a pattern design that uses one of my hand dyed yarns! The pattern launches today on Etsy and Ravelry AND we are hosting a giveaway with Carrie from Stolen Minutes on Instagram.

Anyone who purchases a skein of my Duplicity yarn can get Lisa's Viridescent pattern for half off. Do please check it all out! I promise you will be glad you did!

For those who are joining my from Ginny's blog, I am still reading and still loving both Last Woman Standing and Gap Creek. I like knowing how the Wyatt/Josephine story ends in this case, so I don't have to fear disappointment. With Gap Creek my anxiety that the plot will burst into theoretical flames and burn in an inferno (whoops, no spoilers intended) before becoming dead to me is ever present. Is it impossible to just like a book anymore without it having to have some heart wrenching, devastating turn? Ah. That reminds me. Almost finished with Call the Midwife {the book} and it is lovely as ever, so there. My hope in contemporary literature has been restored. Almost.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Yarn Along - For the birds.

railway park, victoria :: ponies on grayson highlands :: a house inside a house
wood duck :: the falls :: view from grayson :: #5shawls5days

The top pictures are from some of our recent adventures. We have been all over the place, including to Knoxville to help my best friend's grandmother clean out her craft space. We ended up with a small pottery kiln, a boat load of molds, a bunch of excellent fabric (which I cannot show because it is still stashed at my in-laws') and a fair bit of yarn. I'm looking forward to going on at length about my acquisitions in a soon-and-very-soon podcast episode. 

But for now, I am making a fair number of DPN cozies for my Etsy shop, plugging away on WIPs and day dreaming about my Christmas knitting that needs to really pick up. My biggest problem at present is not having enough needles in the right sizes. I always trend towards projects that have the same gauge/weight of yarn and then want to do all the things at once! That MAY be how I ended up possessing five sets of US8 DPNs...

The knitty picture above shows my newest cast on in my MCN Ironweed colorway -- one of the 5 shawls in 5 days mini shawls by Aroha Knits. I love this idea - you learn a new design/shape of shawl with each one, and once you establish the steps/pattern, you knit for 30 minutes and then you are finished. Genius. And cute to boot.  

My book is Gap Creek by Robert Morgan. I am in the middle of chapter five and thus far I love it so. Do join in with Ginny at Yarn Along! Show and tell what you're reading and knitting with us!


In case you haven't heard, I'm very excited to be selling yarn to support my local bird club team in the Kiptopeake Challenge on 24 Sept. This event is a bird count during the peak of migration on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

The Delmarva Peninsula creates a unique situation for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds that come down from Canada, the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic. Preferring to stay over land and with food for as long as possible, the birds travel down to the eastern-most tip of Virginia, with the peninsula acting as a funnel. There they hesitate to go out over the ocean and circle back in masses until they have enough confidence to head out over open water. This creates an extremely unique opportunity for bird (and butterfly!) researchers to do their work in the few short weeks of fall.

Twenty percent of all my Etsy shop profits from now until 24 Sept 16 will go to support this research at the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory. Selling 100 hanks of yarn will get me to my goal! Please support me by visiting my Etsy shop link on the left of this blog! I need to sell three hanks of yarn every two days to reach my goal. The shop will update on 1 & 15 August and 1 & 15 September.