Friday, August 16, 2019

It was a dark and stormy morning ...

The sounds of baby rooster crows echoed. 

Well, that's partially true.  It was dark when I woke up this morning.  It was raining, but no storming.  Just a nice, soft steady rain.  It didn't last long. 

At least one baby rooster was crowing this morning.  Some of those young fellas started finding their voice in the last week. Have I ever mentioned how adorable they sound? 

I am also starting to feel a change in the air.  Summer is winding down.  My son goes back to school in a couple weeks. School information is arriving in the mail.  I'm still trying to figure out what his first day of school is supposed to be like.  He's going into high school and they have an orientation day. There's no mention if it is a partial or a full day. 

The garden is in the final hurrah. We are eating the last of the broccoli and lettuce.  Tomatoes are coming in. The tomato plants grew so large and the fruits are so heavy that they toppled over almost all of the tomato cages. This is a first. 

We are also enjoying the cabbage, jalapeƱos, cauliflower and everything else that is in the garden.  We haven't dug up any of the carrots. 

I mentioned the baby roosters already.  They are doing great. We have separated the young hens from the roos, so the girls will get used to going into the big coop every night. We discovered we have a lot more hens than previously thought.  Which is wonderful.  I was a little concerned we sold off too many hens. 

The turkey ... oh, that turkey! He's in display mode almost constantly. He thinks he's gorgeous.  He's totally correct. He is gorgeous.  

We had someone stop by last night.  The visitor said "Oh, you've gotten bigger since I last saw you." The turkey knew he was being spoken too and it was complimentary.  The turkey puffed back up and walked over to say "Hey, I know you think I'm gorgeous," and inserted himself into the middle of the group. It was very amusing. 

The big girls are getting to know the young hens and a couple of the young roos that we decided we'd like to keep.  

The bunnies are doing well, too.  We sent off the majority of baby buns off to their new homes.  We still have three in the house with us.  

This little one fell asleep flopped on his back.  He was out cold, too. My son was able to start scratching his belly before the bunny woke up, flipped over and gave us a look like "I wasn't asleep!"

Knitting has slowed down a bit.  I have one sock done. 

You'll notice it looks a bit different. I'm not referring to the line down the center.  That's where both circular needles met. My decreases showed up at the top. 

Sometimes when I follow instructions something gets lost in translation.  This is one of those times.  

However, I think the sock fits my foot better.  The sock fits perfectly, actually. 

I bought myself a sock ruler and I measured my foot length, checked it again, and kept knitting until I reached the the point where I needed to decrease for the toe. 

I kept checking the measurements and at first thought the length was too long. In the end, I fretted for nothing. 

Project: Vanilla socks
Pattern: My own
Started: July 10, 2019, or so.
Needle size: U.S. 1, 2.5 mm, circular needles
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici 
Colorway: Surf's up, Mostly blues with a stripe of purple

I've got the second sock started, but I'm taking my time with it since it's *supposed* to be purse knitting. I'm eager to have it done. 

I've been doing a bit of spinning on the wheel and my spindles. The spindle spinning is going slowly, no surprise. 

I'll just keep spinning until I run out of this particular fiber. It's the same fiber that I am spinning on the wheel.  

In the meantime, I'm spinning this fiber only on the drop spindle. This is fiber I dyed up a couple weeks ago.  If I was to name it, I'd call it "Big Damn Sunset."  

I'm curious to see what kind of yardage I wind up with. 

Rediscovering spindle spinning has been fun.  I wish I had more time for it. It would help if I actually carried it around with me. I could spin a few minutes at a time. 

On the wheel I'm spinning some fiber in a woolen method. I was struggling at first. I'm gradually getting the hang of it. 

I'm hopping to get two bobbins worth of this fiber.  I haven't decided if I want to try two-plying, or chain plying. Can you chain ply woolen spun singles?

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Tour de Fleece 2019

This year Tour de Fleece ran July 6-July 28. 

I decided I was going to spin up some foxglove carded corriedale dark brown fiber I have had since January 2014. I had started spinning it up last year, I think.  Maybe even before then, but then set the spinning wheel to the side and focused on other things. 

I purchased 24 ounces of fiber, with the intent of spinning enough yarn to make a sweater. 

Well ... I'm not even close with yardage for a sweater. That's all right.  I learned a LOT during this tour. 

I watched a lot of spinning classes on Bluprint and read old Ply magazines. 

Something clicked during all this reading and spinning I was doing; I understand some spinning techniques and methods *so* much better. 

The Bluprint classes I watched where taught by Jacey Boggs and Amy King.  After viewing the classes I now have the knowledge to tell you how I spun this fiber. 

It was spun with short draw.  I bounced back and forth between short forward and short backward.  Short backward seems to be my go-to method.  Since it was a carded prep, I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's a woolen yarn. I did a wraps per inch and it is a chunky weight. The different areas I checked had either 7 or 8 WPI. Final yardage was over 300 yards. 

Now, here's the kicker.  I didn't spin the full 24 ounces. Some of my yarn went to the bunnies when they started having babies.  I gave both of them fiber so they could use it for their nests and keep the babies warm.  I still don't know if I have a skein of this wool floating around in my stash. 

What's not including in this weight is the small amount of yarn that I had left over when I finished two-plying my singles. So I either gave the bunnies a lot more fiber than I realized, or I really do have a loose skein of this fiber somewhere in the yarn stash. 

I also hand plied for the very first time, so I wouldn't lose that little bit of yarn at the very end.  I followed the instructions over on Knitty. It was easier than expected. Naturally I had a bit of a hard time with it I managed to not keep enough yarn out on my pinky. I had to dig it out a little bit and I had some twist up that I had to untangle.  I'm glad to have learned about this method and Andean plying.  I don't know when I'll try Andean plying. 

Anywho, after plying and skeining up my corriedale I was geeked to spin more fiber right away.  I started spinning some fiber that has been in stash for close to 10 years.  I had mentioned this a few blog posts ago.  It is some superwash wool top. It has such a wonderful prep.  

I finished a bobbin last night.  

I'm so pleased with it.  

I'm really hoping I have enough of this fiber to fill one more bobbin.  If so, then my plan is to ply them together and try a pair of toe up socks for myself.  I'm debating on dyeing them or not.  I'm worried I'll do something to mess the yarn up. I've never dyed hand spun before.  

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Day tripping up the north shore

Last week I realized we were at the end of July and if I wanted to take any day trips before summer ended, I better get going.  

So I decided to take a vacation day from work, told my son we were going on a road trip the next day, and set about deciding where we were going to go.  

I started looking up state parks local to me, quickly realizing that we've been to them all already.  I wanted to go somewhere new. 

I switched over to the Minnesota state park listings and decided we were going to cruise up to Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse.  Both places I know we haven't been to. 

The morning of the trip, I put my hair in braids, dressed comfortably, jumped in the car, turned on some Benny Goodman, and off we went!

The drive "up north" is really pretty.  To the right, you can usually see Lake Superior unless the trees obscure the view.  I didn't take any pictures of the drive up. Anyone who knows me well knows that once I get going, I usually keep driving until I reach my destination. Unless it's a really long drive.  Then I stop for bathroom breaks. 

It ended up being a gorgeous day for sightseeing.  There were a LOT of people at Gooseberry.  Way more than I expected for the middle of the week. 

I took well over a hundred photos.  How do I even knock that number down to share on the blog?  

Please bear with me. 

Tunnel on the way up to Gooseberry Falls.

When we finally made it to Gooseberry. It took a bit of coaxing to get my son to take a selfie with me. 

The middle falls?  I lost track of which photos are of the middle and lower falls. 

Gorgeous view.

I love interesting tree roots.

Another shot of the falls. 

A sign next to the river.

A shot of the river.

Bridge over the river. 

I've never seen so many cedar trees together.  I loved it. 

After crossing the river I saw rock stacks.  I thought "How cool!" 

Then I saw they were all over the place. 

My son decided to build one. 

Staircase to take you further up the other side of the gorge. 

Keep following the path. 

I thought these trees looked neat. 

Different shot of the same trees. 

The bridge at the top is the highway we drove to reach Gooseberry Falls. 

You could walk right up to the falls, if you wanted.

A bench I thought looked neat. 

Another part of the path. 

A view from the road. Way off in the distance you can see Lake Superior.  The dark blue line is land, then the rest is cloud and sky. 

A sign describing how the area was formed.  Way back when. 

This is a statue to commemorate all the CCC workers. The sun was behind the statue and no matter what I did I couldn't get a picture of the detail. 

A photo of the plaque. 

My son was looking for raspberries.  Wild raspberries grow like weeds up here.  We didn't see any ripe gooseberries. 

After seeing all three of the falls we drove up to Split Rock Light House. I have a ton of photos from the museum up there, but I'll just share a few of the outdoor photos.  The views are phenomenal there.  I can definitely understand why it is so photographed.  

After seeing the inside of the lighthouse we went walked the trail down to the beach.  Then walked up the crazy long staircase back up to to the parking lot. 

Up close, the light house isn't very impressive.  At least I thought so. 

The views are stunning. 

Photo taken at a small viewing area. 

View to the right of the lighthouse. 

I took a short video of the lake view from the lighthouse platform. 

I don't know what this building is. A horn house? 

These are the lighthouse keeper's living quarters.  We didn't go in. 

More views of the lake. 

The water color is so beautiful. 

Right before we started walking the trail down to the beach we spotted something unexpected. 

A beaver!

What a funny critter!  Not bothered by all the people. 

What a beautiful shot!  I took this photo while I was standing on the beach.