Friday, September 16, 2011

Polecat Passing

The title comes from a suggestion from my son.  We have now had 2 skunks decide that our totally fenced back yard is the perfect place to kick up their feet and die.  While I do love my back yard - I wish the skunks would not.

What we do have in our backyard are migrating butterflies.  They seem to love our zinnias.
I counted six of them while I was out this morning.  That's a tomato plant in the background and salvia is the plant with the red flowers.  Also found a big garden spider on her web, her bottom side was facing me so didn't take a photo.

Knitting continues.  I'm making a pair of socks for my sister, the one I visited in July.  She had chosen the yarn which is called a Crazy Zauberball.  One knits from the outside in and new colors appear.  


Second Try

Frequently my computer and I don't get along.  I don't know if it is a human vs machine thing, artifical intelligence as a reality or some sort of time/space issue.  The result is I shut the thing down in some form or fashion and walk away.  This is what happened during my last blog entry.  The saved draft did not survive the trauma.

I will try to recreate some of what I had previously done and add some new things - maybe this time will work.

One thing we noticed here is that the Monarch butterflies came through about 2 weeks early.  Normally they migrate so that Labor Day weekend is full of the Monarchs flying through.  Not this year - they were all gone by then.   We had about 8 on our zinnias when I took this photo - the most I could get in one frame were these two.
The summer heat has done a number on the veggies.  The tomatoes have about quit and the cucumbers have cooked away.  Now the peppers are a totally different story.  They do love this heat and are bearing well.  We have about 6 or 7 different types this year and all are doing well.  Some of the 30" tall plants are now over 6' tall!  

On the knitting front - I made a pair of socks for my sister K.  She had picked out the yarn when I was visiting her in NJ.  Just have to wash and block and then mail them off to her.  At least one pair I have knit for her have her podiatrist's seal of approval - so I'm happy about that.  K has been diagnosed as a type II diabetic now and is dealing with the diet changes and all the other stuff that go with this.  So I'll keep on knitting for her.

The pattern is a free one from Wendy Knits (  It's called Sunrise Socks.  It is toe-up and very easy to do.  The yarn is a Zauberball and I don't know what the colorway is called - can't find it - just numbers. 
 Now I've started a pair for me.  These are out of Lorna's Laces sock yarn in a colorway called Bittersweet.  These are knit from the cuff down and the pattern is called 9-to-5 socks.  
 In the photo at right, the top of the cuff is at the bottom.  I'll try for better photos when it's not cloudy out and I can use more natural light.  These are being knit 2 at a time on 2 circular needles.  It's easier to get both socks done at the same time, but I can do them either way.  

I've also pulled the Nora's Sweater by Pamela Powers back out and just have the right yoke/sleeve to do then block, assemble and add the collar/front edge unit.  I had forgotten just how soft this alpaca blend is - I do love how it feels.

I've also been spinning - both on spindles and the wheel.  A Russian-style spindle in Curly Maple has come into the house.  I don't have photos right now but will take some to show off next time.  I'm still working on the gradient top copper to verdigris for 2-ply lace yarn which will be (hopefully) a Swallowtail shawl.  This is using both the Bosworth and Kundert suspended (or drop) spindles.

Cotton has also appeared and I'm re-learning how to spin it.  My first go-around mumble mumble years ago was a complete and total failure.  This time is going a bit better but I want to also try spinning it with the wheel as well as a takli support spindle. So far my progress is probably measured in inches rather than yards.  The problem is getting enough twist into the yarn for it to hold together.  For those who don't know much about cotton other than old songs about picking a bale of cotton, it has very short fibers - like 1/2 to 1 1/2" length - but mostly the shorter stuff.  In order to have these fibers hold together, the spinner has to put in a LOT of twist.  If you don't have enough twist, the yarn falls apart.  I'm still finding out how much is enough.

Photos of the finished skeins of fibers from All Spun Up will be taken after they get their wash and thwack.  There are 2 skeins done right now - a two ply of alpaca, merino and silk and a 3-ply of merino and silk.  I'm about to chain ply a Merino/Bamboo top which will make it look like a 3-ply but it's made from a single yarn which is chained and twisted.  I'm doing this because I don't think the colors will look as good mixed and this method will allow the individual colors to stay together more.  That's the story I've been told at any rate.

So that's all for now and the computer has not pitched a hissy fit at me yet.  I'm going to post this now before my luck changes.