Meet the newest member of our family! This little girl was the reason for my trip to Texas. She is 5 months old and from some very nice champion lines in this country as well as in the UK. I am very excited to have her here with us! I am going to need a little of your help, however Her registered name is Benchmark Wish Upon A Star, but she needs her everyday name. I have thought about Cricket (of the Jiminy variety), but I'm not quite sure that it suits her yet, so I am open to suggestions :-) Is she not cute??
Of course, she and Maggie are only a month apart in age and Maggie's not completely sure she shouldn't be the resident lap dog yet....LOL!
And A Little Knitting
Even though most of the weekend was very busy as we attended a fun match just outside of Dallas, I did manage to squeeze in a little knitting. Most of it was on the plane ride to and from Texas. Looks a bit different than when I left, eh?
As I was working on the other colorway, I realized it was very similar to another lace shawl that I had made last year, so I pulled it all out and restarted with something else. Can you tell I like this color...haha?
Anyhoo, even though I had a very nice time this weekend and the weather was glorious, I am glad to be home. The trip into Manchester, NH was incredibly scary last night......the plane was bouncing all over the place, like a bad sci~fi movie, and we were all amply frightened out of our wits by the time it landed.... It was good to put my feet on the ground again and sleep in my own bed :-)
Finally a finished object that is not fair related...yippee!! This scarf was a fun, easy knit, so much so, that I am going to share the simple instructions with you , since I kinda made it up as I went along, with a little help from a friend on the ruffle :-)
Yarn: approx 400 yds sock weight yarn (I used my Red Maple Sock yarn) and 2 skeins of Doucuer et Soie Mohair or any fingering weight mohair yarn
Needles: Size 7 40" circular needle
Cast on 280 stitches. Alternate 3 rows of knit and 3 rows of purl 8 times. For the ruffle edging, pick up 33 stitches. Next row, knit into the front and back of each stitch leaving you with a total of 66 stitches. Knit 12 rows of stockinette and loosely cast off. That's it..........easy, peasy and oh, so soft!
For this scarf, I used the circular needles from the Knitpics option line that I got for my birthday. I have mixed feelings. Over all though, I really love them. My review..............
Pro: Great pointy tips that slide through the stitches. Love, love, love this!
Cons: Pointy tips are sharp to push and the biggest con, is that the needle kept coming partially unscrewed and would catch on the yarn. Hopefully it was only the one needle that had this problem and not all of them.
Moving on to the next project............
It has been a long time since I have worked on a lace project, however, after looking at all of the fabulous shawls this weekend, I am thinking that this may become the Winter of Shawls for me! Given that I haven't knit any lace since Birch from last year, I thought that I had better start out small and work my way back up again, so I am starting off with the Swallowtail shawelette from Interweave Fall 2006 in my handpainted Zephyr and I hope to finish up with Ann's incredibly stunning Casino Shawl
I am heading off for Texas early tomorrow morning. One of the reasons I behaved myself so much last weekend in Rhinebeck was because I have been saving up for something else..........see you on Monday!
Not too long ago Judy invited us to walk with her on Wednesdays. As I have gotten older, I realize more and more just how little exercise I get these days, so I have made a commitment to leave Wednesday afternoons open for a walk in the woods.
Today I left the house with Maggie, the English Setter, thinking how much she would enjoy this walk. What I didn't think about is that she really isn't in complete control of her walking manners yet, so as we headed off for a walk behind the local high school, I thought I was going to lose my hand from all of the pulling. You see, she is a hunting dog, and in her element with out much training, you can only imagine.........sensory overload!
Sooooooooooo, I returned home, gave Maggie a treat, patted her on the head as I tucked her in her crate.......got on the phone with the local training guru and made an appointment for some obedience classes.
After that was completed, I put a collar and leash on another cutie and started out once again. Kali was a delightful walking companion. Where as Maggie would have been swept away in the river with her enthusiasm, Kali chose to stay close to me with a bit more cautious enthusiasm.
Today's trek took us for a walk behind our local high school which is a just a few blocks away and home to the Swift river. Fall is quickly fading away here in the mountains. When I left for Rhinebeck the streets were lined with the golden colors of the Oak trees, but when I came home, those same trees were barren........winter is bearing down on us. The chill in the air was evident in the biting wind that blew down the rivers.....bbrrrr.
I live in such a beautiful place.........why haven't I forced myself to enjoy it more? Sometimes life gets so busy that we forget to take time for ourselves just to connect and to breathe.
Today was such a breath of fresh air! Thank you Judy for suggesting this..........hopefully I continue to find the time every Wednesday to enjoy the day, walking in the woods!
As I end this post, I will leave a few more pictures of Autumn leaving the valley....
Of course though........there was the fiber too!
This is the first year that I went with a mental list of what I really wanted to bring home. I truly have more fiber than any one person really needs to have
(I feel a stash sale brewing), so I tried to concentrate on other things.
One of my greatest fiber frustrations has been my inability to use a drop spindle comfortably. My first introduction to a spindle came before my spinning wheel as is the case with many of you. A good friend of mine sent me home with a bottom whorl spindle and some Romney and let me tell you how much I hated that experience!!
It became apparent to me very quickly why it was called a "drop spindle"!
Very shortly after that I had my first spin on a wheel and fortunately for me, I picked it up very quickly and never looked back at spindling.
Over the years, I have picked up some beautiful spindles, not because I wanted to really spin on them, but because they were beautiful pieces of art. You see, I love nice wood as much if not more than a great fleece. I would pick them up here and there hoping that somehow I would find the process more enjoyable, but each time, it was just a session in frustration. So they continue to sit as lovely dust collectors in their lovely basket.
This year, I watched Margene conquer and do wonderful things with her drop spindle and I really sat up and took notice......and then I noticed more and more how wonderfully at ease people such as a fabulous fiber lady and friend, Joan Jeness, spindle as they walk. I admit I grew a bit envious of their talent and wondered why I just couldn't get "it".
So for this year at Rhinebeck, I was determined to find just the right spindle for me and to hopefully find someone who could help me figure out what I was doing wrong. I picked Cassie's brains as she was gracefully walking around spinning on her new spindle. Then I picked the queen of spindling, Lee Ann for some more tips, but still, the process was escaping me yet again.
Margene mentioned that a Bosworth Spindle is a great spindle to try, so even though I had already purchased a Grafton Fibers spindle the day before, I stopped by The Journey Wheel booth just before I left for home. While Jonathan was chatting to a customer, I stood quietly and test drove a few of their spindles. Margene was right.....they spin forever, but I was still having a hard time with holding the extra fiber. Being a right handed person that was originally a lefty as a child, I get all turned around at times.
Thankfully, Sheila Bosworth, who is a spindling marvel took a few minutes out of her day with me. She immediately saw what I was struggling with and showed me a few new tricks. Sheila taught me more in those 10 minutes than I have learned in all my years of trying to learn it on my own. If you ever want to be impressed, watch Sheila for a few minutes......she is amazing and I can't thank her enough, or Margene for pointing me in her direction!
The pictures interspersed within this post are the spindles (except for the hatchtown) that I purchased at the fair. The 2 Bosworth Spindles are absolutely amazing spinners and my little Hatchtown was perfect for the Frelsi icelandic/angora blend that I couldn't resist. I came home and could not leave those spindles alone. For the first time ever, I actually feel at ease with them and am enjoying the process!
I know I have said it here before, so I hope you don't mind if I repeat myself a little....... this year was a difficult one for me in many ways.
Never having been a person who really gets depressed and has a hard time even understanding how one can get lost in it, I think that I may have a small understanding of how people suffer with it now. Perhaps it has been menopause knocking on my door, or the seclusion of working at home alone under a heavy workload, but I let so many things go by the wayside in my struggle, most importantly my friendships.
As a young teen, I was skinny, freckled, bespeckled, wore braces and was teased at times. (If they could only see "Flatsy Patsy" now) As an older teen when the braces were gone, the curves filing in and going to a new school, I enjoyed a new found confidence, from the sheer determination of never wanting to be a wall flower again... and that confidence has carried me thru life. However, there is always that insecure part deep inside of me.......that child who remembers the loneliness of being the last one picked for the baseball team and watching the other kids being invited for sleep overs.
Thru a series of unfortunate events, I lost my room at the B&B that I had booked with my friends in my local Spinning community. Now many of you would not think of me as a shy person, but I get nervous when I go outside of my comfort zone and the idea of being in a hotel with a big group of people who know each other pretty well, really moved me outside that comfort zone. Knowing most of these people only thru blogs and not in person, I will admit I was a bit nervous. Those old feelings of inadequacies snuck up, and I almost gave into them and stayed home. However, with that old determination I found as a teen, I plopped myself in the car and got myself to the hotel (my eventful trip is a story for another day).
I can only say is I am so thankful I chose to go. Fiber people are the best sort of people! This was on one of the most enjoyable weekends I have had in a very, very long time. It was so fun to put faces on the friends I have met thru blogging and really getting to know them. And while I wish that I could have spent more time getting to know a few others better, I know that there will always be next year :-)!
So, while Rhinebeck is usually about the fiber, this year for me, it was about friendships, both old and new!
PS.........Don't you love the beautiful picture that came home with me? Such a beautiful, peaceful picture....
Today has been a busy day.....lots of work in my real life job to be done in order for me to take the weekend off to get away. Whew.....finally I am finished. As I get ready to leave, I thought that I would leave one of my favorite Autumn Recipes :-). We had this soup last nite and every time I have it, all I can say is YUM!
1 small onion
1 can Chicken Broth (homemade is even better)
4 c water
Lots of cumin
T Lime Juice
Sprinkle of White Pepper
dash Cayenne Red Pepper
1-1/2 c lowfat milk
1 1/2 c cooked chicken shredded
Peel and slice carrots, onion and potato, put in a pan. Cover with the water and chicken broth. Add seasoning and lime juice and cook until vegetables are soft. Place the vegetables and broth in a blender and puree. Place back in the pan and bring to boiling. Add milk, chicken and a bit more seasoning until it tastes just right :-) Serve with bread and wine.......YUM!
I am off for the weekend. I hope to meet a lot of you in Rhinebeck and for those of you who will be home this weekend.....give this soup a try. It's not a very pretty looking recipe like those you see in cookbooks, but it is easy and the soup is delicious...(and low calorie!)
LIfe is finally settling down to a dull roar, and I am finding a little extra time for fibery things. Earlier, I shared a bag of gorgeous fleece that I had purchased at the fair.....but....what I didn't share is that THREE bags came home with me! It has been some time since I have purchased a fleece and somehow sitting right next to many tables of freshly shorn, wonderful fleeces was just too much for any fiber loving person to resist.
I can't explain what comes over me when I see a gorgeous fleece right off the sheep. The smell, the textures, the luster....mmmm..... I grabbed these fleeces and left them on my platform, telling everyone that I was not going to really buy them....I was just trying them on to see if they fit...hehe...
I gave it my best shot and resisted for a few days, but in the end, it was just no use...these fleeces were just to beautiful to resist.
Even though the weather today was probably not the best for washing, my fingers were itching to get at least one of the bags in the wash. Usually I will have to skirt a fleece and separate it all out, but this particular fleece was so clean and consistent in lock size and texture that I only had to dump the bag into the wash.
After I crank the hot water heater up to it's highest setting, I use regular dish detergent for the first wash....in my gulp, washing machine. You can't tell much from the picture, but the water was pretty clean for the first wash.
Many people don't like to deal with raw fleeces, but for me, the transformation that the raw fleece undergoes and seeing what the final product is going to be, always fascinates me. The colors in this young Romney fleece are so pretty. Shades of chocolate and dusky grey are going to be so fun to play with!!
I hear-by swear to stay out of the fleece barn at Rhinebeck, scary things happen when I go in........!!
'Tis a joy to be simple,
tis a joy to be free,
tis a joy to come down where we ought to be...'
an excerpt from Simple Gifts.
Earlier this summer Ken and I became supporting members of the Canterbury Shaker Society in Canterbury, NH. As the shaker community ages, it's membership is sadly dwindling. In order to preserve the rich history and impeccable workmanship of the Shakers, many of the old New England Shaker communities have become working museums.
Canterbury's Shaker organization not only offers tours of the many buildings that were and are still used by the few shakers left, but also many wonderful workshops and entertaining programs. To read an interesting article about the New England Shaker communities, take a visit here.
Today we ventured down to see the Enfield Shaker Singers, from another Shaker society in Enfield, NH, who were performing in Canterbury. What a treat! The singers, all very talented, performed what would have been a typical church service and let me tell you, those Shakers knew how to have fun in church! Many of the songs were reminiscent of Irish pup songs, only with words of course that reflected their beliefs. The audience was toe tapping and clapping along. The words of those from years ago, still hold many truths for today.
Shakers believed in living a simple and useful life.............very inspiring!
And yes, even a little knitting.................
I must admit that I am a bit happy to be knitting something other than hats...LOL On the needles is a scarf of my own creation using a skein of my Red Maple Sock yarn and a skein of Doucuer et Soie. I am working the scarf lengthwise, alternating rows of knit and purl ribs and I will put a ruffle along the bottom edge
(if I can figure out how..)
I love the combination of the 2 yarns.....it is making for a very soft and colorful scarf!
Intervals between them constantly
Pointed wings slash as if joined
to an axle:
Today is the ideal moment between yesterday and tomorrow.
Every morning means a fresh start on things. If yesterday was trying and exhausting, today is a given opportunity to do something different. If yesterday was full of triumph and satisfaction, today is a free chance to go further.
Although I was not going to post until next week, I took the day off today to enjoy the fading colors of Autumn here in the mountains and I thought that you might enjoy a peek of life in my corner of the world this week :-)