The farm house

The farm house

Monday, January 21, 2013

Just Spin It!

To spin, perchance to ply, ay- there's the rub. I decided that 15 minutes per day should be enough to get me back into the swing of " spinning". So what to spin then?? I took the bobbin of merino and silk of such a beautiful enticing color yet proved to be a real disaster to spin, leading to my self-doubt as a spinner... nasty but pretty got chucked in a basket.

Well, don't I have fleece to card; from my very own sheep no less?? Well, a-carding I did go. And then the spinning.Not a great experience so far. Granted, I had not spun in some time. Too thin then clumpy. I continued in earnest as I do want to spin my own yarn. An accomplished spinner, knitter__________ fill in the blank does not happen overnight. So I mustered on. Here is a photo of Clarice's fleece. Clarice is a Shetland of a musket coloring. I try to blend the color of the fleece as parts are creamy and some slightly brown. You can also see how long and crimpy her fleece is. And yet, even today I am having a heck of a time spinning it. Today's experience is very thin. If it continues it may have to be a 3 ply if I can stand it. I find that spinning this thinly takes a lot of time too....I wonder if my somber mood is partly to blame? I spent some time scouring the ads for work but nothing today was appealing unlike last Thurs and Friday. I did receive 1 call back out of 10. She was also supposed to call back this am....Not a good ratio.

On the positive side, knitting guild is tonight abd I so need a distraction. Amanda Schwabe of Aknitica designs will be the guest speaker and also my chauffeur!!How cool is that? Also food for thought is registration for some workshops with Melissa Leapman in April....oohh...better bring the chequebook!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wondeful, Wearable, Warm...Mittens.

Today was a blustery, miserable yet sunny day. I near froze my hands off doing chores this morning as the wind went right through my wool mittens. Hmm.. didn't I finish a pair of stranded mittens recently? Is it true what they say, that this type of knitting makes for a warmer fabric? Well time to test the theory. Lo and behold, it was ideal. Better yet was the 3 stitch waffle mittens over top of the 2 color stranded mitten. Bliss!
This pattern, which I have now misplaced- Oh wait , here it is : Manly Mitts by Elizabeth Morrison from summer 2005. It is very similar pattern to Spruce mittens found in Favorite Mittens by Robin Hansen. The thumb is different in that this pair is a salt & pepper pattern and there is a ribbed cuff.
This pair was knit with Patons Classic Wool on 3.25mm needles; much tighter than a normal worsted weight knit.The brown/tan colored wool was carried under and therefore became the dominant color. I enjoyed knitting these while watching a few episodes of Larkrise To Candleford. I seem to have a " thing" for period dramas recently...

I have cast on for Houndstooth mittens using some Bartlett wool and it is pretty thick. Meanwhile, I had started an afghan for middle son and I have almost finished the first strip. It is a sampler style in 2 colors.After that is done, I see a few more pairs of mittens to be as my future project list has formed a queue!

On a totally different topic, here is a photo, albeit a dark one from the barn before the repairing and cleaning were underway in the sheep pen. The rooster(speckled gray thing) is an Euskal Oila, a rare breed. Sitting next to him is an Euskal Oila hen, of which I have two. Further along is Ollie, the barn cat who has made his home in our barn for just over a year now. I believe it to be a good sign when animals want to stay in your barn- except for predators that is.The chickens are snug in their coop next door.

The chickens are messy and I prfeer to keep them in the coop over the winter as the sheep are very particula about the cleanliness of their hay and water. Which also means lots of carting of frozen buckets of water...Global warming huh?...When it gets this cold I often ask myself- does it really need to be so cold?? What is the purpose of this kind of cold...And then I stare at the wonderful mittens and smile.

Friday, January 11, 2013

..And Now The Oven....

So yesterday was an interesting day. I did not finish the change of format for my resume as I was distracted by... an online garden planner. Free for 30 days. After that $25/year. Check it out The Old Farmer's Almanac Garden Planner. So, I decided to play. This all happened after I discovered that there was a light on my stove, lit up saying"locked". There is no button to activate lock unless you clean the oven. Curiouser and curiouser...No amount of button pushing made the light turn off nor did it allow the oven door to open, hence no baking. I even switched the breaker off.After much playing and googling, it is a heat sensor that must be replaced.

This stove was here when we purchased the house. I was delighted as it was better than what I had left behind. I have yet to go out and purchase a stove "new". While inquiring, I discovered that this model was from 1992! Gasp- it doesn't look that old. Here is hoping I can locate the part I need. My dryer is still requiring a heating element- after 4 years of service. This part keeps going up in price when I look. A conspiracy theory I am sure. It will soon be the price of a dryer! WE have unfortunately becoma a disposable society for reasons such as this. Expensive parts and if you are not a handy person= Big bucks, no incentive to have repaired especially if you need to take time off work ro accommodate a repairperson. Shame, shame...

While cleaning up under and behind the stove, I found all kinds of things. Best of all was a bracelet that had been missing for some time. I admit I blamed the kids. I blame them for many things and rightly so but this time a secret apology was uttered under my breath.

I also cast on for a sweater for youngest son. He wears the same old pullover that is now tight. While he was away at school I measured it- Holy Smoke! It's a 46" chest.. I need to make bigger. So, chunky yarn from the stash; a modified pattern into the round- good deal on the yarn as I look at the label was $5.97reg & I paid $1.00 each ball. Needless to say a lot of yarn is required. I have put middle son's birthday afghan aside. His birthday is Feb22nd so I can't take too long...

Houndstooth check mittens are also on hold.I do enjoy knitting but sometimes you can get distracted by the needs of others- still can't upload photos today....perhaps another time.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mild weather...

Yesterday was a unusually mild day for January. My concern on such mild weather is with water infiltration. An old house such as mine does not have the same systems in place as newer construction would in order to stave off water seepage. This time I worried about the roof. I've already experienced water damming over my studio. In the Fall we re-attached the heating cable. However, after all the snow, I could not find the plug and then the water came in. It dripped in from 2 windows this time. A good thing was the couch in there being able to support the 4 buckets that I emptied frequently. Middle son was home and took the not-rickety ladder and pounded carefully on some ice to find the plug hidden in the eavestroughing. Hurray! No more dripping. Now for the second floor... nothing yet but there is much ice collecting in the eavestroughing.
There are 2 sump pumps in the basement. It is an old stone foundation and sometimes the water just comes up from the ground, nowhere near the sump- such is country living...

As for the sheep pen, no more indoor waterfall but there is some seepage. This time I will try the black spray on goop for leaks- that ought to do it! Maybe I will get hubby to do that. I already have a different colored coat thanks to the spray foam insulation...

The hens are laying again. Despite having a light on for them, productivity dropped drastically. Now things are on the upswing. I am now contemplating laying boxes for the turkeys. The Tom has wonderful displays in the morning. If the mild weather continues, they may think it's Spring and start laying... which also means I best purchase an incubator. What a great thing it is to watch something so mundane turn into something complex in very little time! Sadly- I can't seem to upload any photos today...? Wonder what's up with that?

So, I guess I am already getting ready for Spring. After sprucing up my resume, I will take a look at how I will redesign my vegetable garden and then some knitting. What could be better?!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Week 1- Not What I Imagined.

The first week of the New Year has almost passed me by....And what a week it's been. Dec 31st started with the knowledge after my work shift that my contract was not to be renewed. Good riddance but how I was informed just proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that my " Manager" is a ----. I thought the word, my son said it out loud- aplologized but in Scotland it's common to hear. Women don't like this word. Regardless, she is one.

Now, on to the sheep. They broke out twice!! Horned varieties, gotta lov'em! On the coldest days. Hubby was home- not happy about not working. I asked for help in a moment of frustration and then he spewed forward about how much he hated all these animals and how much work they are....This time I yelled back. Wouldn't be so much trouble if you just did as I asked when I asked to prevent many of these things get the picture. Good thing my Canadian "Tessa", knows what doesn't belong in the yard with her and she stood guard over the escape artists. She blocked the door at the rear of the barn which stays open for the horses to come in out of whatever inclement weather is at hand. Also the snow is so deep that the sheep would be up to their shoulders in the snow. It certainly would slow them down.

So yesterday, a new sheep pen was built. Good thing to have for a variety of reasons such as illness, lambing, quarantine, cleaning...We'll see if the indoor waterfall re-occurs as a temporary solution has been found short of redoing the roof which is metal and old.

Now for a shocking first, my oldest son has, gasp, paid some of the money back that he borrowed ages ago. How very nice. Too bad it wasn't more as the dryer part I need seems to have doubled in price!! The defrost system in the car is leaking something and covers the inside of the windows never defosting or constantly fogging up.

As you may surmise, I need to get back on the employment horse but it is an exercise in futility. I apply, nobody acknowledges. Time goes by, you keep apllying. You wonder what is wrong...So not how I wanted to start the new year but...I must now try something different.
I also missed the deadline to submit an article for the knitting guild. Never at a loss for the written word but this time due to all the excitement, my heart just wasn't in it and I would rather submit something that was well meant and thought out.

On a knitterly note, I have taken a look at some of my work this past year and I have come to the conclusion that I have been shying away from fairisle or 2 colored knitting!! The reason- impatience and laziness. So, I have started to include it slowly by knitting mitts with 2 colors.Most definitely a textural knitter but it doesn't have to be cables. Also started an afghan for son #2. His birthday is February so I should be done....
Now on to week #2!!!