Saturday, March 09, 2013

off and on the wheel

 I love my spinning, even though technical problems abound, and I have much learning to do. This is some recently spun, a bit scratchy, mixed wool from my sister's trip to the VA Fiber Festival at Montpelier, VA last fall. I like how there's a bright golden line running through much of the yarn.
Most of my spinning at this point is 2 ply, because I suck at Navajo plying, and only practice it at the end of plying when I have a single leftover to waste. That, of course is not going to get me anywhere. I have some white Romney-alpaca that I think I am going to dye with kool-aid and spin up in singles to practice the Navajo plying - in part because it was super-inexpensive, and because Romney-alpaca drafts like a dream; I won't have to work very hard to spin up this stuff. 

Before that, however, there's this...
I have been stalking this fiber, a mixed bfl, in Fibercharmer's Butterfly Bush colorway forever. Always with an itchy Etsy trigger finger, but never quite ready to buy...then, last week, I just happened upon a listing for it on SALE, at a considerable discount, and bang! Sold. I have no real plan for it, beyond spinning it up and enjoying the weird juxtaposition of purple, orange and is squishy and soft beyond measure. 

A gratuitous Cricket picture...just because he is handsome, and he, too, is squishy and soft beyond measure. 

Friday, March 08, 2013

friday is my friend

How did it get to be March? Wasn't it just January a day or so ago? We've been enjoying the lion/lamb weather here - one day in the 30's, with biting winds, a night of howling thunderstorms, a day to cherish, in the 60's with soft sunshine and joyous birdsong...still, it's supposed to be cold, so I'm enjoying the rollercoaster ride.

Friday is my day off, usually, unless I take a sub day, which I often do, to supplement the finances. Today, however, is my next-to-last PT appointment, so I didn't work. It's a nice feeling, the whole glorious springy day unfurling in front of me. I'm going to drink this coffee, go to PT, and then on to REI, where I have a $20 off a $50 purchase gift certificate. Then home to do yardwork, namely pick up the million limbs and sticks and pinecones which the last round of storms deposited. I am grateful that my fences are intact, still. I'll pick up the sticks, rake the yard out a little and sow some grass seed on the barer spots.

I am not a grassy yard queen, by any means. But I do have dogs, who like to lay in grass, and I have a big backyard, which otherwise would be dirt or ivy and weeds, so some cool-season fescue growing in one swath of the space is perfectly appropriate. I put in some native plants last fall, wild ginger, mugwort, and already have a small patch of goldenrod and white asters growing up, so am hoping they thicken up. My attempts to nurture the joe-pye weed of 2 years ago resulted in 1 sad little plant, which bloomed enthusiastically, but who can say? It is a favorite roadside perennial of mine. We'll see how it does.

I've been brewing kombucha, this past month, with some success! I joined a kombucha lovers group on Ravelry, (Ravelry has everything, doesn't it?) and a member sent me a scoby (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast - in other words, a kombucha culture) which I tossed into a gallon jar of sweetened strong English Breakfast tea, and let ferment in the clamcave for a week. The clamcave has become my fermentation chamber, because it's the warmest room in the house, during the winter, for some reason. The scoby is like a big muscular pancake. Not pretty to behold.

Then I strained off the slightly fizzy, slightly vinegary stuff, and bottled it, placing in each bottle 10 squashed blueberries and some slices of fresh ginger. Let that bottle-ferment a few days, and then fridged it. The result was yummy, red, fruity, slightly carbonated and altogether delicious. I've got a gallon of green tea fermenting right now, and will bottle it with some fresh raspberries and ginger later this afternoon. Soooo looking forward to that. I'm really pleased to add kombucha fermentation to my post-apocalyptic skillset, as buying the bottles, at $3.99 per 16 oz was a bit ridiculous.

Have I showed you The Lady Edith?
She is coming along nicely - I'm now about 8 repeats in, and getting ready to start the decreases. I am in love with this yarn: Dragonfly Fibers Dragon Sock yarn, in the Bougainvillea colorway. Red and pink always elevate my mood. I only have 400 yards of the stuff, so it's going to end up being a tiny little shawl - which I'll block the hell out of, but it's an easy, portable knit, anyway. It was a KAL with Acornbud, who (of course!) has already completed and is wearing her much larger shawl.

I had a bit of a panicky crisis at the end of February, when my professor emailed me requesting a draft of my exit portfolio, even though I'm not exiting my program til the end of July. I had put it on a back burner, and had not written a word since December 10, when I had sent her my first draft. I was not the only person in my program in this boat, however, and we panicked together, resulting in a week of nervous breakdowns and frantic writing to bring ourselves up to speed. I am NOT done with this sucker by a long shot, and am hoping to have a reasonable draft (ie, one that needs tweaking but is in the ballpark) by 17 March, when I have to face her in person, because I am speaking at a conference with her that day...needless to say, this upcoming week is one of writing and reading and thinking and rounding up artifacts.

But today, Friday is most definitely my friend, and I shall enjoy the moment.