Monthly Archives: June 2011

Well, hello there!

This evening two bucks decided to hang out in our yard munching on plants! Seth saw a van parked out in front of the house and then casually said, “there’s a deer eating a bush in the front yard.” I took a peek and then went running to grab the camera. I wasn’t sure if the pictures would come out since I was taking them through the front window, but they actually didn’t come out too bad! Thankfully Sailor didn’t notice them, otherwise I’m sure their visit would have been much shorter!

This guy didn’t stay quite as long, but he had a good snack under the Japanese Maple!

Cool, right?! I saw our neighbor when I brought Sailor out tonight and she said she’s seen a group of 3 bucks in the neighborhood in the mornings when she walks her dogs.

In other news…the canning season has begun!

Seth and I made some strawberry jelly from the 25 lbs of fresh strawberries that we picked last week. We ended up with 9 jars of regular strawberry jelly and 1 jar of strawberry-raspberry jelly. We didn’t quite have enough strawberry for a full 10th jar, so Seth ran out to the raspberry bushes in the yard and added enough raspberries to fill the jar!

Last summer we picked up The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest, and it has great recipes and tips for canning/preserving all sorts of fruits and veggies. We won’t have too much more to preserve before the end of the summer….it all depends on how well the garden does. Last summer and fall we made several kinds of jelly, made applesauce from the apple tree in the yard, and canned all the pears from our pear tree. I’m hoping to be able to make pickles with the cucumbers in the garden this year, and maybe some tomato sauce to save for the winter.

I finished another woven scarf today! But no pictures yet since it was dark by the time I finished. Pictures to come soon!

 

 

 

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Black Sheep Gathering

In my last post I mentioned that I went to the Black Sheep Gathering to buy my loom. I sort of skimmed over most of the booths so that I wouldn’t be too tempted to buy tons of stuff besides the loom. I did end up with a few things, but before buying anything I went and walked through the sheep barn. Most of the sheep are really friendly and come right up to the edge of their pen when you walk by. I forgot my camera, so I used the instagram app on my phone to take some pics of the cute sheep:

This guy was my favorite….he was a Romney Sheep, I think.

There were also adorable alpacas outside:

Now onto the fibery goodies…

All the fiber and yarn I purchased was from the same shop. It was the first booth I walked by outside and they had a ton of stuff that was just screaming to come home with me!

8 ounces of Polwarth Roving from Huckleberry Knits 

BFL/Silk laceweight yarn from Huckleberry Knits

Merino/Silk fingering weight yarn from Huckleberry Knits

And of course there was the loom purchase. I’m going to warp the loom again tomorrow and start another scarf!

Today, though, I did a bunch of sewing for the shop and finished spinning a skein of yarn.

Merino/Yak (50/50) dyed by Two if by Hand in “Over the Top”

The yarn isn’t nearly as bright in real life…it’s much more subtle, but I couldn’t quite capture it with the camera. 

It might end up as a hat for Seth….and maybe some fingerless mitts for me with the leftovers. But who knows!

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Busy, Busy, Busy!

Seth’s Mom and Joe are  in town this week, so we’ve been busy sightseeing, picking strawberries, and working on the backyard landscaping! On Thursday we headed to the Oregon Garden to walk around and admire all the gorgeous flowers. The weather was perfect and we had a nice leisurely stroll around the park.

There was a duck family living in one of the ponds at the garden.

The flowers in bloom were amazingly gorgeous.

I love these fun yellow flowers! 

While Seth was at work on Friday, the rest of us went strawberry picking at one of the local U-Pick farms and ended up with about 25 lbs. of fresh strawberries! Seth’s Mom made a strawberry pie while I ran out to a local fiber festival (more on that later!). We froze a couple of gallon sized bags and we’ll be making jelly this week with the rest.

On Saturday we headed up to Portland to go to the Saturday Market. After wandering around for a bit and buying some local goodies, we all got in line for lunch. The guys ended up with tamales from Salvador Molly’s and the girls ended up with biscuits from Pine State Biscuits. Usually I go for the breakfast style biscuit with egg and cheese, but this time I decided to go big. My biscuit had buttermilk friend chicken, bacon, and cheese. It was also supposed to have gravy, but I opted for no gravy (I’m not a big gravy on biscuits fan).  Sooooo bad for me, but sooooo tasty. The bacon was thick and really crispy and the chicken was delicious! Yum. We also made the obligatory stop at Powell’s City of Books, and amazingly enough I left empty handed! There was also an attempted stop at VooDoo Donut, but the line was pretty far down the block. I did, however, get a picture of their new sign:

Now…more on that fiber festival I went to on Friday….

I’ve been wanting to try weaving for a while, and decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to invest in a loom. I wanted to wait until I could buy one in person, though, and avoid shipping charges. Since I knew that there would be looms at the Black Sheep Gathering, I took a quick drive down to pick up a loom. Of course, there were a couple of other purchases…but I’ll share those once I snap some photos.

After asking around on Ravelry, doing some online research, and talking to some folks at the fiber fest I decided on the 20″ Ashford Knitter’s Loom. The AKL is a rigid heddle loom that folds for easy transport and storage. The folding feature was important to me so that it doesn’t take up as much space.

So….today I completed my first weaving project!

Warping the loom

Close-up of the warp

The first few rows of the weft

Yarn: Three Irish Girls Carys BFL in “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”

Not bad for my first project, huh?!

The scarf turned out a bit shorter than I would have liked, but now I know for future projects that I need to make the warp longer. 

I think I’m really going to enjoy weaving!

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Let’s Go Camping!

Not real camping, don’t be silly! The Loopy Ewe is hosting “Camp Loopy 2011”, and I’ve decided to “sort of” join. The basic gist is that there will be 3 monthly project challenges (June-July, July-August, and August -September) and you can knit to win prizes. However, in order to win prizes and really participate, you need to buy your yarn from The Loopy Ewe. And since I need more yarn like I need another hole in the head, I’ll be joining some other folks on Ravelry in our own “Camping Trip”. There will be a prize each month, and it’s totally acceptable to use stash yarn. Perfect.

The first challenge, which started on June 15th, is to knit a “two colored project in a shawl, cape, or scarf.” I knew exactly what yarn I wanted to use, but went through about 5 different pattern choices before settling on Flamboyan by Steven West.

It doesn’t look like much yet, but I assure you it’ll be gorgeous. The yarn was dyed by the lovely Melissa of Wool Therapy. I had purchased some Naked Bugga! from The Sanguine Gryphon last summer when I though I might get into dyeing my own yarn and fiber. It’s been sitting unloved since then because I didn’t want to ruin it with my shoddy dyeing. Melissa and I did a trade a few weeks ago where I sent her a Kindle Case I had sewn and she sent me some Organic Merino fiber from her shop. Then I asked her if she could do a custom dyeing job for me with the 2 skeins of Bugga! base. And yes, Bugga! does have an exclamation point after it! I told her I wanted a dark purple and a silvery color to pair together for a shawl. It. Is. Gorgeous. She totally knocked it out of the park.

Let’s have another look, shall we?

Long way to go…but hopefully I’ll be able to finish by the July 15th deadline!

In other fibery news, one of my favorite indie dyers has been doing Harry Potter themed updates! Now, I’m normally a sucker for their hand dyed fiber….but, Harry Potter inspired hand dyed fiber? Unable. To. Resist. Apparently I’m a sucker for a gimmick! That being said, I’ve gotten some really gorgeous braids of fiber in the mail! I won’t bore you with all of them…but I’ll show you a couple of my favorites.

“Obliviate” on Superwash Merino

“Albus” on Rambouillet

“Shrieking Shack” on Shetland

Seriously, I would be perfectly happy only ever buying fiber from Two if by Hand. Ceylan and Maria rock!

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Finished Patio Pictures…Finally!

Let’s take a look at what the patio/porch used to look like, shall we?

And now…..

Now. I’ll be honest….the patio isn’t really that shiny. But when I went to take pictures, I realized that there were some glaring bird poop spots. And, well, we couldn’t have that! So I swept and hosed it down, and the shine does make for a lovely picture!

Notice anything different about the shed? No? Let me remind you…this is what the shed used to look like:

See it now?! It doesn’t stand out nearly as much. All it took was the hose and a big scrub brush. And a lot of elbow grease, of course. It looks a million times better, but we’re still planning on covering it with lattice and planting some climbing vines.

A big “THANK YOU!” to my father-in-law! We couldn’t have done it without him. Well, we probably could have…but it would have taken all summer, and it wouldn’t have looked nearly as professional!

Now…onto the crafting!

First up, a shawl for me:

Pattern: Scalene by Carina Spencer

Yarn: Three Irish Girls Kells Sport Merino in Canyon and Desert Sunset

Modifications: None. I followed the directions and numbers for sock weight yarn, but apparently my gauge was way off. And no, I didn’t knit a swatch. I rarely swatch for shawls, but in this case I probably should have! I should have been able to knit the entire thing with one skein of each color. Instead, I ran out of the purple after the first section and had to acquire another skein (thank goodness for lovely people on ravelry!). The shawl/scarf turned out MUCH larger than it was supposed to, but it will be nice and warm in the winter!

Scalene has a vertical slot as well as a horizontal slot and it can be worn in a variety of ways.

Next up, a shawl for Laura:

Pattern: Sarai by Vanessa Smith

Yarn: The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! in Satin Green Forester

Modifications: This was my second time making this pattern, and I ran out of yarn before the end…again. However, the shawl is plenty big, and larger than the pattern measurements. It’s a very well-written, easy to follow pattern that knits up quite fast.

The color of this shawl is just stunning…the green practically glows.

I also did quite a bit of sewing this weekend for a custom order:

8 box bags and 4 notions bags for a lovely customer. She sent me the fabric and I sewed up all the bags!

Yup, those are skulls with knitting needles. Love it!

I just started a new shawl (apparently I’m on a shawl kick right now), and I’ll try and get some pictures of that once it’s a little bit bigger!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend and Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there (including mine!!)!

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Spring Has Sprung!

Just in time for summer. All the plant life around here is at least a few weeks behind schedule this year…my poor garden really wants it to warm up already! But…the wildflowers are out in full force and make for really beautiful hiking.

I took a hike with my friend Valerie over the weekend and we found a meadow full of wild irises, and of course I didn’t have my camera! So, when we hiked again yesterday we went back with cameras in hand.

Sailor and Diamond hanging out in the field of wild irises

Valerie and the pups

There were hundreds of wild irises in the field! Gorgeous, right?

These gorgeous flowers were at the very bottom of the hike by the stream

The craft room is officially painted and I’ll take some pictures after I get things back up on the walls, which will hopefully be tomorrow! I also bound off of the shawl for Laura, and I’ll be blocking it tomorrow! I’ll make sure to get photos before I send it off..the color is absolutely gorgeous.

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There’s been knitting, too!

Lots and lots of knitting, actually! I’ve been slogging through my Scalene shawl for quite some time. According to my Ravelry records, I started it back at the very end of March. Part of the reason it took so long was that I ran out of yarn and had to order another skein. More on that when I have modeled pictures, though. I bound off the shawl Friday morning, and soaked and pinned it out for blocking today.

On Friday night, I cast on for another shawl that a friend asked me to knit (Laura! Check out your shawl-in-progress!):

Sarai Shawl knit in Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! in Satin Green Forester

It’s buzzing right along, and I’m already about 1/3 of the way done!

Saturday was World Wide Knit in Public Day (for real!) and there was a tent set up at the Farmer’s Market so that people could congregate and, well, knit! Quite a few people were intrigued by all the knitters and the two spinners who had brought their wheels. I brought my Estelle Cardigan with me to hopefully make some good progress on a sleeve. Well, I made progress. But then when I got home and tried it on, the sleeve was too big right under the arm. So riiiiip will go the sleeve. I had cast on a couple of extra stitches under the arm, because I thought the sleeves would be too tight otherwise. Apparently not.

I’ve also been prepping the craft room for painting!

Yes. My craft room is currently what I like to call, Home Depot Orange. Or, I suppose it was originally painted this color by an OSU fan. I brought home two paint samples a couple of days ago, and was really surprised by which one I liked more. I ended up not liking the lighter color at. all. It’s hard to see what the colors look like sitting next to the orange walls, but I held up some things that will be hanging on the walls and all of a sudden I loved the darker color more.

While I was washing the walls I realized a few things.

1. Ew. The walls were dirty. I now feel the need to scrub all of the walls in my house.

2. The previous owners were TERRIBLE painters. There are drip spots and I practically had to break all the outlet and light switch covers to get them off. The walls were either repainted between tenants while those were left on, or they put them back up before the paint was dry. Annoying.

3. Someone really liked to use thumbtacks in the walls. I had only noticed a couple and then I started washing the walls. I’m sure I missed patching at least a few. I tried to get them all, but every time I thought I had them all I’d find another one!

Let’s discuss #2 for a minute. I suppose this is part of what happens when you buy the house you’ve been renting. The seller has no reason to go through the house to touch up paint and make it look appealing for buyers. Our bedroom has wood trim around the pocket doors and there is definitely a healthy dose of sage green paint on it. Haven’t these people heard of painter’s tape?! There’s a similar situation going on outside as well. We have a door that goes from the laundry room into the backyard. The trim on the house is a dark green and theres a huge splotch on the outside of the door! We’ll deal with that when we paint the outside. Thankfully it’s in the back yard and no one really sees it.

Seth’s Dad is going to help me paint on Tuesday!

Well, I think that’s enough rambling for tonight! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

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