Thursday, July 24, 2014

Flower Power ...

The blue lace cap Hydrangea is visible from my office window. All I need do is lift my eyes to the window and there it is, across the yard, up near the woods. The touch of blue is ever so lovely in a picture that is otherwise shades of green, gray, and brown, with an occasional golden highlight from the sun.

Plants, especially flowers, are on my mind. The next month will hopefully see much activity concerning the flora about this place.

It rained very much overnight and today was a perfect 10 of a day so I was out pulling brush. Cleared several patches around the front lawn and some weeds pulled from the triangular bed-to-be which separates the house from the aforementioned hydrangea. Ideas are shaping up and the possibilities are starting to seem endless. This is good. The very large--enormous--clump of rosa rugosa out back may well end up making a hedge somewhere about the place.

Ideas are also pouring in for a deck and patio out front, and a retaining wall with proper drainage and patio out back. Of course these visions will remain ideas for at least a few years. At least until the bird room is paid for.

I wonder if you've seen the latest hipster rage? Putting flowers in one's beard and/or mustache? I love it! I especially love that men can be beautiful with flowers. Some of these are quite stunning: Flower Beards. An acquaintance of mine on FaceBook saw those and did himself up. Quite attractively too! I sport just a small goatee and mustache so my pick of flowers went for the small wild types.

On Sunday I took a drive down to Cape Ann to visit a dear friend who is a landscape designer and daylily hybridizer. Her garden is spectacular beyond words. So I'll simply post pics of my visit, including one where we were both trying to take dual selfies. Much fun.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I have spent time these past four days laying out a Labyrinth on the front lawn. It's constructed of about 350 golf tees and, when complete, 350' of sisal rope. I bought 300' and am short by about 50'. The sisal will break down over time, but during the interim I plan on replacing it with bricks or some other stone edging sunk into the earth--so I can mow over it, the paths will remain grass.

It's a Classical 7-Circuit Labyrinth. Width across is about 30 feet, the paths are 24" wide. When the bricks are laid the paths will be about 2" narrower.

I walked it this afternoon even though there is a 50' length of rope missing (I could tell where it should be). Another dream come true and a bit of excitement, as I've dreamed about building a labyrinth for some time.

It's hard to see much of it in the picture. Partly because it's too large to get a picture of, but also because the sisal rope does not show up too clearly. But you get the idea:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A few pics ...

It's muggy tonight. Very muggy. More muggy than I can remember all summer. It hasn't rained. The feeling is that instead of raining, the atmosphere has decided to simply soak up as much water as it can. Sticky. Not really hot, though, and that's nice.

The gifted Hydrangea is blossoming, bless it. (Thank you. You know who you are. :) ) After it was run over last summer I figured it was going to have to struggle to stay alive. It's done well I think.

The Nasturtiums I planted from seed have given their first blossom. I'm hoping it won't be the end of it!

This very pretty lily was a gift. Isn't it sweet! Not very tall, a little more than a foot I'd say.

I ate my first pea today. Yum.

Some odd skeins done this week.

Progress on the Sakiori jacket.

And a new quilt under way. I'm doing this on the 1910 Singer. It is the perfect machine for me and piecing. It doesn't rush me. Just love it to death.

The quilt is built from the center outward. That's only 3 rows. There are many, many more. A biggish project.

P.S. Since I started writing this post it has started raining. One of those steady, soothing, open faucets of a rain. Feeling much better already! :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summertime ... and Tour de Fleece ...

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. I am! Been going to concerts, enjoying the weather (which is much more summery this year than last), and taking in the local scenery. Old Home Days will be upon us soon and each town, in turn, will put on a celebration. Arts, crafts, food, fun!

I've managed to catch 3 concerts at The Center for Advanced Musical Studies at Chosen Vale which takes place at the Shaker Museum in my home town of Enfield. The concerts have been spectacular! Utterly fabulous concerts! The setting, of course, cannot be beat. I just adore those old Shaker buildings. They are precious works of art and I'm glad the place is now a museum.

The weather has been wonderful and I do (I admit it) get a slight chuckle when I hear complaints about the heat and humidity. It is more than tolerable compared to the 35 NYC summers I suffered. Oooh yes, it gets very hot (stiflingly so) and humid in NY in the summer. So many concrete, brick and paved blocks without trees opens one's imaginings to being slow-roasted. The 100-year+ subway systems without proper ventilation allow one to imagine--all too clearly--being baked alive. So when we have high humidity up here--90%+ today with temps in the low 80s, yes it's a bit uncomfortable but not terribly distracting. To me. So I'm enjoying it terribly well.

After stopping by the town clerk's office this afternoon to pay my semi-annual tax bill, I drove down the road a few miles to Spectacle Pond. How ever so pristine! What a treasure so near by (~4 miles tops). The spring-fed pond is clear as glass and peaceful beyond imagination. No petro boats are allowed except those with permits and some state boats that are used for training. I have made up my mind to obtain a kayak, this will be the perfect location to paddle out and float in a silent ambiance with my knitting. Maybe one of these: SeaEagle.

Spectacle Pond (well half of it):

Tour de Fleece began on the 5th and seeing how there's a men's group this year, I decided to join. Been spinnin' up a storm. I'm going multi-approach this year: Great Wheel, flyer wheel, spindle, and charka! Here's my 3rd day report (flyer bobbin had been started prior to the 5th). The top skein was spun on my great wheel. Follows is a very short vid of me learning "from the fold" on the GW:

Friday, July 4, 2014

Aran knitting ...

I've done some cable work in the past but I never really got into it because I couldn't stand fiddling with the cable needle.

At one of the knit-ins at Artistic Roots a few months ago, I was shown how to execute cables without using a special needle, and we're off! Cable work is now an absolute pleasure.

This yarn has been in my stash for about 4 years. I bought it in NYC at the Lion Brand's Studio on 16th St. There was a men's night that I used to attend (Great fun!) and would pick up 4 skeins at a time. It was very well priced, and the singles aspect and natural color attracted me. (Singles, refers to the fact that it is a simple twisted cord, it is not plied.) It's 100% wool.

The knitting was finished this morning and I was going to sew the loose ends in this evening, but didn't--reason forthcoming. It was a relatively quick knit and I derived much enjoyment from it. Slightly annoyed to see that one of the skeins has a very slightly different hue about it, which is noticeable in some light, not others. Obviously, being undyed there is no dye lot number to match up. I may--very unsure about it, will ask for input at Sunday's knit-in--dye the whole finished vest a light grey, or possibly tan. We'll see. The loose ends haven't been touched and that's because I started a new project this afternoon: A Japanese sakiori vest in the gorgeous colors of Noro.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Spindle spun weft... Now a scarf...

I don't suppose I've mentioned the green yarn I had been spinning on "Peacock"--one of the CD spindles I made a few weeks ago?

I went with my default 2-ply DK weight (probably) construction.

Anyhoo, I decided to warp, for the first time, the small, intriguing little loom I bought at an estate sale last summer ($5) with some singles commercial wool. I used my spindle-spun yarn for the weft.

The jack mechanism on this little loom is most fascinating. The handle that can be seen to the right in the picture, moves in and out. In for one shed, out for the other. It is only a 2-frame loom. Plain weave and manipulated warp are it's milieux.

The scarf is a pleasing little cloth with a line of Leno at each end. One line is incorrect: I forgot to change sheds (or twist warps, not sure which) after the line of weft. Oh well, it's my first Leno. I still like it quite a lot.

From the Great Wheel ...

My first sample spun on the great wheel. I spun a grey single and a colored single then plied them together. I like it! No, I love it! The grey "mongrel" wool was purchased at the NH Sheep & Wool last year, and the colored (in the grease) wool is from the NY Sheep & Wool the year before last.

The cloth feels so beautifully woolen, and it exudes warmth and coziness--an almost incongruous thing to write in these warm temperatures we're having. (High today of 88; currently a beautiful 75.)

I see a project in the makings. Gonna get spinning!

I stumbled across this wonderful video last evening of "spinning from the fold" on a great wheel. Fantastic!