Thursday, 23 May 2013

When Inspiration Strikes

I told you all about the knitting slump I was in.  I debated bringing it up at all because nobody wants to hear me complain.  That isn't why you're here.  This whole situation was partly due to finishing a few large projects, most notably the Spring Celebration Wrap and I'm starting to switch gears and spend more time outside planting and tending the vegetable garden. Knitting doesn't hold my interest for long when there are seeds in my hand.

But the weather turned and it's been raining for days.  Great for the cool weather seeds that are in the ground, but it's meant to be cool for a few days more so I'm holding off putting out the rest of the warm weather plants.

Then the latest issue of Interweave Knits arrived in my mailbox.

There has been a change in the staff at IK and I was unsure how the magazine was going to look and how the styles would change.  The last few issues have been very pretty to look at, but (in my opinion) much of the knitwear hasn't been all that wearable.  But this time, all I can say is WOW.  It isn't full of cutesy stuff that nobody I know will be wearing - it's actually got wearable items in it.  More than one.

My challenge now isn't "What to knit?" or even "What to knit first?".  It's "How fast can I finish this pair of socks because I want that summer cardigan?"

Friday, 17 May 2013

Knitting Slump

I'm in a bit of a knitting slump.  Sure I have lots of lovely yarn, and several patterns queued but none of them are speaking to me.  I just bought some new sock yarn from Fleece Artist - the colours are lovely - but I don't feel much like knitting socks.  Still, I cast this on last night.  The colour is called 'Spruce'.

The new spinning wheel is wonderful and I can happily sit and spin for hours, but what I'm working on is so fine that you don't see much difference in the amount of yarn on the bobbin from one session to the next.

Just this morning, I finished spinning about 40g of fibre.  Believe it or not, it's taken me two weeks to spin this.  It was the never ending rope of roving.

I did however finish the silk and merino scarf I was working on.  

I still don't have a name for it, so for now it's just "Untitled in Silk and Merino".   Kinda like pictures you see in galleries..."Untitled in Acrylic on Canvas".  Unlike just about every other pattern I've ever knit, I never really memorized this one.  Right up until the last row, I was looking at the chart to see what I had to do next - which made for a very long and tedious project.   Still, I quite like the finished product.

The good news is it's the May long weekend!  This is traditionally considered the start of summer in Eastern Ontario and is when most people usually plant out more tender vegetables.  I'll be heading off to the garden center this weekend to get the remainder of the plants and herbs for my garden.

I've started a few things growing in it, and have lots of pots with plants started but there isn't much that's picture worthy yet.  Wait for it - it won't take long.

Friday, 3 May 2013

New Toy

IT CAME! It came, it came, it finally came!!!

I'm talking about my new spinning wheel - an Ashford Traveller.  This is a double treadle, single drive castle style wheel.  It actually arrived on Wednesday around noon and as luck would have it, my husband was in Smiths Falls at the time so he swung by the shop and picked it up for me.  Secretly, I don't think he could stand me bouncing around the house like a six year old on Christmas Eve for another day.

I'm not sure how I was expecting them to ship this, but I didn't expect a flat pack IKEA style box.

Honestly, that just made it even more fun.  I chose the natural unfinished wheel so I could finish it myself.  I didn't do anything fancy, just applied a light furniture oil finish on Wednesday evening - got the oil into all the little nooks and crannies and had a really good look at all the pieces.  Then I left it to dry overnight.  The next day was Thursday, my usual work from home day so at the stroke of 4:30 the computer was closed and I was downstairs looking at how to actually assemble this thing.  As these things go, it was pretty easy; it took two hours but that includes taking time to find the drill bits.

And then it was time to try it out - and it worked.  It spins effortlessly, beautifully and is a real pleasure to use.  I'll post pics of the singles when I have them.   In the meantime, I know it is tradition to give a spinning wheel a name.  I'm at a bit of a loss here - I realize it doesn't have to have one, but it's a fun tradition.  Thoughts?

In other news, the garden is starting to grow.  Asparagus and rhubarb are both up.  I can harvest only small amounts of the asparagus this year as the roots are only three years old.  Next year I'll be able to take more. Some of the herbs survived and have started to grow again (sage and thyme), mint, chives and oregano are up but so far, no sign of the lemon balm.  I like to blend it with the mint for tea.  I also was shocked to find five heads of radicchio!  I know it is a perennial plant in some areas, but I didn't think it was hardy enough for my zone 5 garden - especially since I didn't do anything special to help it winter over.  I also planted lettuce and arugula last weekend and the arugula has sprouted.  My goal is to get the carrots, peas and rutabagas planted this weekend and start putting the tomatoes and cucumbers that I started in March outside for a few hours.  The blueberry shrubs don't look too good though - one might survive, but the other doesn't look good at all.  One Crab-apple tree will have to be taken down and one requires major surgery.  It looks like something really went at the trunk of the tree above the first set of branches.  So the bottom two branches have leaves and are obviously alive and the rest of the tree is dead.  Odd.  Three of the five Saskatoon berry slips I started last year survived and appear to have doubled in size.

This is probably my favourite time of year, it's busy but I love this work.  Knitting will be back soon - promise.