Celtic Cable

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tour de France, Week II

The Tour, Week II. This is the total I've spun since the Tour began.

Zucchini shown for scale. 

Spinning at least one bobbin a day, I have worked through all the "crap" fiber, I think, and now I can turn to the nicer lot ... alpaca, camel, merino.  As I've been going through the house during the last week or so, rooting around for cheap yarn with which to make cat mats ... I've found a lot more unspun fiber. I just kept tucking it here and there, thinking I'd remember. Well -- I don't have that great a memory. So until the Tour is over, I'm going to spin a bobbin a day, at least. Today I spun 4 bobbins. I'm really hoping to get through most of my stash by the end of the Tour, and then I'll try to figure out what to do with it all!

I've been knitting very little. I've decided to rework one large WIP into something different, but the spinning has kept me busy so I haven't gotten to it yet. 


We have had a very strange summer on the Eastern Seaboard ... it hasn't reached average summertime temperatures yet. We have a few really hot days, then it rained and the weather went back to cooler-than-normal. It's been great for my electric bill, but my garden is not exploding like it normally would be in mid-July. 

Except the sunflowers. They're going nuts. 

Black-Eyed Susan vine. They don't really look like the traditional Black-Eyed Susans, but they're very pretty. 

Elephant Ears, lost in the Hosta flowers. 

Annabelle Lee, Georgie Girl, and Spot (in front of Georgie) enjoying a cool summer evening! 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tour de Fleece, Week One

This is only my second Tour de Fleece ... it's difficult for me to get into spinning when it's in the mid-90s outside!

My TdF goal is pretty small ... I just want to spin up some slubby, vm-filled roving I bought when I was too new to spinning to understand what to look for. Once/if that gets finished in time, I'll start in on the nice stuff, like alpaca and merino! I have a lot (a LOT) of fiber, plus a lot of already-spun fiber needing a project! It seems like for years I just accumulated the material and didn't actually do anything with it all! I figure I'll make a doggie mat with the substandard yarn I make from the slubby roving.

I'm currently massively destashing all my acrylic/part-acrylic yarn into cat mats. Once that is done, I'm going to work on some sort of massive project to use up a dozen or so skeins of sample yarn in various colors. Then I'll tackle the handspun. I want to get to the point where if I want to knit a project larger than a square, I'll have to actually go out and buy yarn. I don't want to be a hoarder any more.

In other news, my sunflowers are doing great...

A friend of mine and I went to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival last weekend. It featured Kenya and China.

While in D.C., we also visited the Botanic Gardens. It was a beautiful day to be out in our nation's capital. 

I'm not fat, I'm big-boned! (No, she's not preggers. Just fat.)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Grandmother's Quilts

I recently visited my Dad in the Great State of Texas, and while I was there, my Aunt Sandy offered me the last couple of my late Grandmother's enormous cache of hand-made quilts. My Grandmother won ribbons at the Calcasieu Parish Fair back in the 80s (she died in 1989), and she made many, many quilts throughout her life. She had a quilt frame suspended over her bed, and when she wanted to quilt, she lowered it on its pulleys and sat by her bed and patiently -- so patiently -- stitched. I remember baskets of cloth remnants by her chair in the den (I don't think she used store-bought quarters).

I tried to quilt, I really did, but I am just a terrible seamstress. I once sewed an article of clothing onto my own pant leg. And my quilt squares were just never even. Anyway, I am now lucky enough to own four "Grandma quilts." A diagonal-patterned red one that I got when I was too young to remember getting it, another with a sort of pinwheel pattern I was given when I was a young adult, and now these two:

I don't know what these patterns are called, sorry ...

Aren't they gorgeous? I am looking for a quilt rack, so I can display them until winter. I can't imagine how many hours it took to make each one of them, then to sit by the bed and carefully stitch it all together.

Creativity runs in the family, though. My first-cousins-once-removed, young adults themselves, have a fabulous Etsy store which I am shamelessly going to promote. It's called The Evergreen Nest and is focused on fairies and that which pleases fairies!

I got these lovely items from Evergreen Nest:

I took the mushroom and the three ladybugs to work, and set them up on my desk with two of the ladybugs crawling around the mushroom cap. I swear they come alive at night ... when I come in most mornings, the biggest ladybug has moved a little! 

So, on to knitting issues ... 

Well, spinning issues. Tour de Fleece is starting the day after tomorrow. I did it once before, a few years back, and haven't since. To be honest, I haven't used my spinning wheel in quite some time! I think it's time to dust Esmerelda off and give her a good oiling, and then spin up some fiber for TdF. I do have a lot to spin. A lot to clean, card, and blend, too. I don't know that I'll want to do that in July, but I think I should have a go at some spinning.

In closing ... a sweet little recipient of one of the many cat mats I've been making lately. This little sweetie is at the Petco in Columbia, MD, snoozing on the top left. They had six kittens in the adoption cages. Very sleepy, smug kittens.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Mad DeStash

Greetings! I know I haven't posted in a couple weeks ... this time of year, the knitting just slides for the gardening and other summer fun stuff.

The garden is doing great!

I'm ready for some tomatoes now, though. Getting a bit tired of the zukes.

I am currently knitting two projects, but the other day I was looking for something and came across a plastic bag full of yarn. I'd relocated a bunch of half-assed finished projects to this bag and dumped it in a closet. I decided that enough was enough. Enough yarn hoarding! Enough undone project hoarding!

I went through the stash and gathered every bit of acrylic, part-acrylic, fun fur, eyelash, everything I bought mostly when I first started knitting because I thought it was cute, and didn't realize it was impractical. For example, knitting with fun fur is so awful, the only thing that kept me from outright pitching it is my frugal Yankee nature. (I blame that nature for my pack-rat tendencies, too). I gathered it all up, along with the Lion Brand Thick-and-Quick half-skeins, and went on a massive cat mat bender. I donate these cat mats to a local no-kill shelter.

I made eight over a few days. I've got two more done, and I think I could make four or five if I go through and really shake the stash. All the little remnants, the old Red Heart and Vanna's Choice, the part skeins...when I first started knitting, I wanted everything. So I bought everything, even if I had no plans for it. I bought armfuls of acrylic, because I was practicing and had big plans. I did the same with unspun fiber, so one day soon there will be a massive spinning-knitting marathon, once I figure out what to do with it.

I will be so glad to get the stash down to just a few choice, higher quality yarns. Then I can work on de-stashing that! A few years back I bought a Knit Picks sampler. Fine yarn, almost like sock yarn, but 100% wool. I've got to come up with something fabulous to do with that. That won't be for cat mats.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Vacation, Gardening, Knitting!

Whew! I've been busy! I haven't posted in a while. Knitting usually falls to the wayside during the beginning of gardening season ... plus, I spent a few days in east Texas, at my dad's mosquito-and-poison-ivy ranch. Above is the source of the mosquitoes ...

And here is a plant representing a tiny fraction of all the poison ivy there:

I blundered through this stuff constantly, but luckily, didn't get a rash.

Here's part of the creek that feeds into the pond. It was lovely back in the woods, but the mosquitoes were truly horrendous.

On the way back to Baltimore. Smooth flights both ways.

And the gardening! I've been keeping them fairly weed-free so far, but I am fighting a losing battle with the #*$&% wild strawberries.

And I may have gone a bit overboard with the squash. I just hate to thin plants. I always worry the one I leave behind will fail later, and I'll have nothing.

Two tomatoes, an eggplant, a sweet mini-bell pepper, coupla cukes, and an undisclosed number of zuch and yellow squash.

Herbs to the side ... lotsa basil, chives, oregano, parsley, lemon balm, sage. Eucalyptus that comes back every year.
Pretty Kitty, the queen of the backyard.
I had some hyacinth in the front ... realized finally that it's just too much sun. Unfortunately, I don't really have a good shady place for them, so I moved them out back by the herbs. I hope they thrive, but I dunno. It's awfully sunny.

I planted some flowers in the front, instead, around a pink hibiscus.

Georgie Girl in her favorite shady spot, between the clematis and the hostas. Can you see her in there?

Spot of the Front Yard. Also known as Patches and Reese's. I call her Spot, because I'm imaginative like that.

I put all those potted plants out in an effort to hide the disintegrating sidewalk.

My front porch. I might hang some more plants ... when I get enough of them hanging, I can sit on the porch in my nightie and no one can see me.

I'm still slowly knitting a pullover-type thing, and another pair of socks. Slowly. Sloooowwwllly. 

Oh, and my Texas Aunt has a little black kitty that looks just like my late Edgar kitty ... I spent a lot of time carrying this kitty (Tucker) around, telling her how much she reminded me of my Edgar. She obliged me by sleeping with me and hanging out in my room. 

And finally ... this is my cat (Molly) on nip. 

I'm not sure which of us is blurry.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Finally! Finished Socks.

I started these Be Mine socks  back in January.

Here they are, getting the obligatory cat scan.

There's a cabled heart going down them. I didn't feel like taking them off to photograph upright, nor could I contort myself enough to turn my leg around the other way. I think you can see them well enough here!

These languished for a long time. I'm so glad to have them done!

I have another skein of this yarn left, so I'm off to see what else I can make with that skein.

Have a happy, safe Memorial Day weekend, all.

Georgie Girl wonders why so much of her hair is on the floor, and not on her where it belongs...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Spinster Gardens

First, the knitting!

While I was at the Sheep and Wool festival earlier this month, I bought some 50/50 wool-silk from Kiparoo Farms. It came with this pattern:

I thought this would be the perfect over-blouse to wear to work, over a sleeveless shirt.

It's just straight stockinette stitch with a few dropped stitches. I dislike knitting on big needles, though.

Also, the Slowest Socks in the World trudge on. Perhaps they'll be finished by next winter!

The colors are super-saturated ... there's a big storm coming, and it's overcast and the atmosphere is kind of heavy. All the colors are really standing out!

I decided to do a garden this year. It's not that it's a tough decision, it's just that the last two years the weather was terrible for gardening. It got super-super hot, or it rained for days. Everything was stunted. I feel that the fact that my seedlings didn't sprout this year (I had to buy plants) was a bad omen; we'll see.

Here are the vegetables and herbs:

Not to much to see! Two basils, chives, parsley, lemon balm (I love this herb so much!), the usual stuff. The oregano and thyme came back from last year, along with the eucalyptus.

The vegetables are in the middle bed. Two tomatoes, five squash (don't judge me), and a delicious eggplant. I still need a cuke.

The front is where all the pretty is:

The front wall, with it's itty-bitty scrunched up space, just perfect for ... well, not much. Usually I put allysum here, and it flings itself over the wall in protest of the small space. Now it's phlox and two other plants I forget the names of.

The bleeding heart gets bigger every year!

Note the gray and white kitty.

Clematis in the middle. Another yearly return visitor.

There's also three hostas and several house plants behind the clematis and bleeding heart.

The front porch. I do the baskets myself--I think it's a smidge cheaper than buying them already done, but not by much.

Note the phenomenally lazy fluffy white cat asleep on my chair.

Silly Annabelle.

Silly Pretty Kitty, investigating the knitting. 

And a nervous Georgie Girl, letting me know she knows there's a storm coming and we should take shelter. Preferably on my bed, under the covers and pillows just to be safe. 

Thanks for stopping by! If you're interested in reading about my first half marathon adventure, follow the "half marathon" link to my other blog. I had a great time! Well worth it. Plus, I slept like a rock at night for about two weeks after the run. A big plus for me.