Friday, August 31, 2012

What's With All the Plums?

We have some dwarf fruit trees in our yard and they usually have a moderate amount of fruit on them.  The cherry tree - birds eat them all; the pear tree - a few small pears that don't get ripe; the apple tree - if I don't put little socks on the apples they usually have apple maggots; the yellow plums - there's usually quite a few of those but they're small and don't get much attention; the little old Italian Prune tree - I love these and pick and eat as many as I can.  This year?  Lots of everything.  I've brought in some pears to try to ripen them up and picked some apples to see what shape they're in.  The Italian prunes aren't quite ripe, but it looks like I'll get some.

The yellow plums are amazing.  There are so many plums on this little tree I don't know how it stands up.  I've been picking them and giving them away for a couple of weeks and today it still looked like no one had picked any.  So I found a local food bank to give a bunch to and spent a couple of hours this afternoon picking them, washing them, throwing the ones that squished after all that attention into the yard waste, and then packing them up.  By the time I was filthy, scratched, and worn out, I had three bags and two 5-gallon buckets full.

When I delivered them, they were weighed and I had brought in 47 pounds of plums.  I feel good about  sharing this bounty with others.  I definitely know that I don't have a future in fruit picking.  I get scared after three steps on the ladder and I don't like all the twigs in my hair. And there are still plums on the tree.

I did pretty well at the Fair.  I'm going back tomorrow morning to demonstrate knitting again and will take a better photo of one of my projects so I can post about it.  I'll get to spend some time looking at the animals tomorrow, too.  I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cast On Frenzy and Fair

The Evergreen State Fair started yesterday here in Washington.  For the past few years (2 or 3?) I have entered knitting and spinning into the needle arts competition.  I love to go and look at everyone's work and it's cool to win ribbons, too.  Even though it's a point system like school (90% is blue ribbon, 80% is red, etc., so there might be a bunch of blue ribbons in your category) it's still very fun to see your work adorned with ribbons.  However, it's best to see your work adorned with "special" ribbons - the big, colorful rosettes - and I only have one of them, for "presentation".  And I don't know what that really means.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I drove out to the fairgrounds to turn in my entries.  I entered a Pi shawl made from Wollmeise lace and my Earth and Sky shawl, also made from Wollmeise, into the knitting category.  My plan always is to enter my sock yarn blanket and really wow them (big rosette, yeah!) but somehow it's never finished.  Another detail:  how is it possible to know that the fair is coming every year in August but yet be surprised when the postcard with the entry dates comes in the mail and not really have anything done that's suitable to enter?  Don't know.

I entered more things into the spinning category.  I made two pairs of pretty cool socks out of handspun yarn.

 I also entered two or three skeins of yarn that I spun.  I was planning to enter a shawl made from handspun singles, but somehow that didn't get finished and the other handspun shawl I was considering for entry got frogged for the third time when I ran out of yarn.  The best laid plans.....

I will be demonstrating both knitting and spinning at the fair on Sunday, so will know what I won in just two days.  I'm excited to see everything, learn my results, and just spend a day talking to people about knitting and spinning.  A fun day.

Meanwhile..... I've finished a couple of things and cast on a few more.  I've been working on a scarf for my MIL's birthday and finished it the other day.  It's the Rivolo by Anne Hanson and made from Wollmeise Pure yarn in the Blue Curacao colorway.  I think it came out nicely.  Here's a photo in progress.

I also finished a strip of knitting out of worsted scraps that will be used for yarn bombing at the fair.  Someone decided to liven up the big old barns that are used for display by covering the pillars with knitted fabric, so I decided to contribute.  I'll take some photos of how it looks on Sunday.

I cast on Hannah Fettig's Featherweight cardigan in Wollmeise Pure in the Rittorsporn colorway (I'm sensing a theme here in choices of yarn).  It's looking a little more variegated than I thought it would, so I hope it doesn't look too stripey. I'll keep an eye on it as it gets larger.

Then, because I couldn't just work on that, I cast on another shawl out of the cursed handspun that I've tried to make three projects out of already.  The yarn is holding up fairly well after all the ripping and I hope that this shawlette will be successful.  It's Sugared Violets by Rose Beck.  She has a booklet of 5 shawls and I think they're all really nice.

And, since I'm easily influenced, and need to have some socks going, I cast on some plain socks in a self-striping, beautiful yarn that I got at the last Sock Summit.  It's from Canon Hand Dyes  and is sparkly!  I listen to a podcast that is doing a self-striping KAL so I decided to join in and knit up one of the skeins of self-striping yarn that I had stockpiled.

This was a little challenging to get going; I wound up the yarn and cast on.  I was pulling from the center and the yarn got tangled.  I tried to rewind the yarn from the other end and not disturb the cast on.  The yarn wound too loosely and flew off the ball winder in the middle of everything.  I tried to untangle the mess and had to break the yarn.  After some time and some choice words, I took everything to the sofa and wound it back up by hand.  After knitting a couple of inches, I decided that the sock was going to be too big so I started over on fewer stitches.

Things should go smoothly now.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I know I've been MIA these last two months. and I'll have a lot to catch up on at some point.  Aside from the Tour de Fleece, which I participated in and spun every day during, my attention has been taken up with the wedding of the Princess.  Yes, my little girl was married last Sunday, July 29th.  It was a spectacular event down to the smallest detail and was amazingly beautiful and fun.  My introverted personality was tested as I had a houseful of people for ten days, hosted a rehearsal dinner for 40 or so people, and then hosted the wedding.  I was lucky enough to have great help and was able to enjoy myself all the way through to the "after party" planned by one of the bridesmaids that continued after the wedding at our house into the wee hours with many young people and a big bottle of tequila.  Who says knitters don't know how to have fun?

Professional photos aren't available yet but a few of the kids have provided iPhone photos.  You can get an idea of how incredibly beautiful our Princess was (and is).  And yes, I think I'm completely objective!

The wedding took place outdoors on a covered patio at a golf course/country club. The photographer took the bridal party out onto the course for photos. I'll wait to put up more info when we get the official photos.

For now, here's yarn!  I spun a bunch during Tour de Fleece and ended up with these lovely skeins.
A bright BFL braid from Bohoknitterchic in an official TdF colorway became this skein after I spun it fractally.  Love how the colors mixed.

This was a "potion" made from two braids of fiber.  One was Polwarth/Silk and the other was Merino.  I spun each one and then plied them together to make a combination yarn.  It's a big 8 ounce skein.

This is another skein of BFL.  It wasn't totally finished during TdF.  I have a coordinating braid in a plum color that I plan to spin and then use them both for some sort of striped shawl.

This is a lovely Fiber Optic merino/silk gradient that I spun and navajo plied.  It's already well on its way to becoming socks that I plan to enter into the state fair this year.  Entries are due by Saturday, so I'm busy getting everything done that I can.

More knitting, spinning, and wedding details at a later date.  Hope your summer is going well!