Sunday, August 31, 2008

No More Hum Drum Mittens 3

Yes, another questionnaire - LOL! From the third round of one of my all time favorite swaps, No More Hum Drum Mittens 3. Here goes:

How long have you been knitting & how did you learn?
Since I was 12, about 37 years now ;) I learned when my Granny decided she would like to learn (she also learned to play guitar that year!) and she took me along. We took lessons that were offered at the local school – I was the youngest and she was the oldest in the class! So I always joke that I learned to knit with my grandma, and it is a very special memory for me especially now that her health and memory are failing.
Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
What are your favorite colors? Any you dislike?
I don’t think I have a favorite, I like them all at various times and places!
Do you like Latvian type patterns? If so, what are your favorite patterns?
I do like admiring Latvian patterns, but I don’t have a favorite one and have never knit one.
Do you desire mittens for yourself, your "special someone else" or your child?
For me please ;)
What is the measurement from your wrist to the tip of your longest finger?
8 inches and I like a fairly long cuff
What is the circumference of your hand at it's widest point?
Around my palm is nearly 8 inches ~ maybe 7 3/4?
What other things do you enjoy knitting?
Socks and lace
What sort of needles do you enjoy working with? (straights vs circs, bamboo vs aluminum)
Circulars – I rarely use straights. I like bamboo, love my Addi turbos, too. But my very favorite needles are my Denise interchangeables. I have wanted to try the Knit Picks new bamboo ones.
What’s one project you’ve not yet tried but are dying to make?
Still thinking about starting and completing a sweater - but that was my goal in the last mitten swap, too ;) I know that I could knit one, I have the skills. But I get bored so easily that I don’t usually take on larger projects. I will one day though.
What’s one yarn you’ve not yet tried but are dying to work with?
The Noro Sock Yarn
What other hobbies do you have? Do you spin? Sew? Garden? Cook?
Yes, I spin. Raise my own sheep for the wool ;) I also am an avid gardener.
Besides yarn, do you collect anything?
Fiber! I’m not sure which “stash” is bigger, fiber or yarn!
What kind of goodies do you enjoy? Sweets? Salty? Anything you hate or are allergic to
Yes….LOL, I mean I just love goodies.Lately, I am on a salty kick though. My very favorite goodies, though, is coffee. I am a coffee junkie. No allergies.
Do you have any kids? Pets?
I have three grown children and my husband and I recently became legal guardians of our foster son – a fifteen year old boy. So we are not empty nesters! Our pets are all of the outdoors variety…approximately thirty sheep; a half dozen chickens and two very special barn cats. No indoors pets though.
What is your favorite part of Winter?
I just plain love winter! I love that there are no bugs and I can use wool (my favorite fiber) to its best advantage.
What is your least favorite part of Winter?
Well, I don’t like driving on bad roads and this year I am worried about the rise in heating costs.

Any other questions, don't hesitate to ask me ;)

Friday, August 29, 2008

More Swaps, Packages Received and Sent....

First up, from the very fun Starbucks and Yarn Swap, this great gift from Nic:

Isn't it perfect? A gift card for more Starbucks (this will come in handy the next time I get lost in a big city and seek refuge in the closest Starbucks!); a small, sweet felt bag; some divine little bites of chocolate; delicious yarn (need to find out the details on this) and ingenious little Starbucks stitch markers!!! How clever is that?!? Thank you so much, Nic!

And then, arriving just as the feel of the air outdoors begins to signal fall, this beautiful yarn and pattern from Natalie for the Hand Dyed Yarn Swap, hosted by Celena:

Isn't it pretty? Included in the package is the photo that inspired Natalie in her choice of yarn colors and they are perfect...thank you, Natalie! And Celena for hosting.

I think I got all of my current swap commitements met (some a few days tardy, but with good intent) I am going to slow down on swaps a bit for now, but I did join in the next round of one of my favorites, No More Hum-Drum Mittens 3 because I had so much fun in the last round. I will have my questionnaire for that one posted by the morning!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Michigan to Maryland and back again!

A year or so ago, a lovely little lamb named Coryn sent her fleece from our farm here in Michigan to our friend Carissa in Maryland. This week, some of that fiber traveled back to Michigan in the form of this beautiful yarn:

That clever Carissa hide her identity well during the HHHH Swap that we both participated in! LOL...what a special gift to me, to be able to knit with some of my own yarn from someone else's hands. The chocolate gift was much appreciated, too!

From Michigan to Maryland and back again....thank you Carissa ;D

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fun Fiber Swapping

I am part of a really neat fiber swap over at Ravelry. The basic idea is that we all love the notion of being part of one of those fiber of the month clubs where you pay a membership fee then get a new fiber every month...only not everyone can afford this, so we are doing it as a swap - LOL! I am in "Group 3" with three other fun ladies. This month, August, I was to receive fiber from Lynne in Massachusetts. Lynne is sure a talented person when it comes to color, be sure to check out her etsy shop. Anyway, the lovely fiber pictured on the right here is what came in the mail for me this week! Isn't it beautiful? It is rich and deep and vibrant. Lynne had asked and I had expressed an interest in trying a Dorset-Columbia cross wool she had, so that is what this is. I am thinking of using it for my favorite of projects, socks. Shouldn't it work well for that?!? Lynne also included a little kit to make your own knitting needles. Now this just shows what a thoughtful swap pal Lynne is, because I am assuming she realized from reading my posts how many things I do with my grandchildren and with my hands and that I would enjoy making something like this. Thank you, Lynne!

This fiber is the one I received for my July fiber installment. I couldn't wait and had to "test spin" some of this, and let me tell you, it is a dream!!! It came from Lesley, and is hand combed alpaca and bamboo fiber. It is heavenly ~ I wish you could feel this! As soon as I finish with the "for pay" spinning I am doing, I am going to finish this up and then start on a pair of entrelec mittens (my own pattern) for myself with this fiber.

I have a package ready to send on its way to Lynne and need to get to the post office with it, but I wanted to get these pictures posted to thank both of these generous and talented fiber women. By the way, Cyndi is the other member of our group - she and I have much in common.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Falling For Ewe ~ a yarn swap

I fell in love with the name of this yarn swap over on Ravelry. I would invite you to join, but sign-ups are already closed! It is time to post the usual question and answer list, so here is mine ;)

Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been at your craft? Both. Mostly knit, for about 35 (?) years
Do you spin? What type of spinning do you do?
Yes, but not spindling. I have three wheels.
Are there any other crafts that you participate in?
Some beading (simple jewelry making); soap making
What are your favorite yarns/fibers?
My favorite fiber and yarn is Corriedale (which is what I raise) I am not fond of straight silk nor the new-to-the market soys, bamboos, etc. (at least for spinning) I do like some of them for yarns and knitting
What are your LEAST favorite yarns/fibers?
I detest cotton and am not that fond of linen. And, while I enjoy a good alpaca yarn or fiber, I have been working with so much of it this summer that I am really ready for a break from it (so please, no alpaca fiber or yarn – grin)
Are there any types/brands of yarn that you are dying to work with but haven’t gotten a chance?
I have never knit with Noro (am I the only one?) I would also love to try some of the Woolen Rabbit's yarns.
What are your favorite types of projects to knit/crochet?
Lace and socks
What are you currently working on? Anything you plan to start this autumn?
This is no lie…I probably have about 20 different projects at some point in the works ;/ Terrible, I know. This includes several pairs of socks, at least one pair of mittens, probably two shawls (maybe more), two felted bags. Hmmm, what else?
What is your favorite FO? (Please, post a picture if you would like.)
A shawl I made for my daughter (picture below) last year after the birth of her youngest son. It was made with wool from her favorite sheep, Violet:


What is your oldest UFO?
I think that would be the Hanami Shawl from last year (pictured below). It is on hold.


Are their any knitting/crochet techniques that you would like to learn?
I would like to learn to work steeks. And maybe knit with two circular needles. I can do the magic loop and the dpns in my sleep, but just for the sake of saying I can would like to try the two circulars ;)
Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes, favorite project. Do you want foot measurements in inches or just a general size? I will have to get that for you…
Do you have a yarn winder and/or a swift?
Yes, both
Where/how to you keep you needles/hooks?
Most of my needles are seperated by size and are in what was meant to be for something else but I can’t remember what. It has nice, heavy duty plastic with zipper holders. And my set of Denise interchangeables are in their own case.
Do you collect anything?
I like things with sheep and especially like things with both Christ and sheep – I have some old pictures like that.
What is your favorite type of music? Are you MP3 ready?
Southern Gospel and old hymns and no, I am not MP3 ready (grin)
Do you like sweets? What are your favorites?
Yes. Caramel is probably my favorite.
What is your living situation like? Any pets? Children?
We live on a family farm. No pets, but a flock of sheep (around 30); two retired draft mares (Percheron horses); two barn cats and half a dozen or so chickens. We have three grown children, one teenage foster son and six grandchildren.
Are you allergic to anything?
Perfumes, though I am fine with natural fragrances like lavender (the real thing, not lavender fragrance oils); spicy scents and citrus type scents.
Do you have an online wish list (Amazon, Etsy, Loopy Ewe, etc.)? Please include links for your swap pal.
No on-line wish list.
Are you having a birthday during this swap?
What is your Ravelry ID?

I hope this helps my swap pal....I would be happy to answer any other questions, just email me ;)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Shades of Yellow (and Green)


Right now, the pale lemony-yellow color of this sunflower in the garden is so refreshing!

The other color going on at Serenity Farms is green...or lack of it. We have been very dry in mid-Michigan this summer, while at my parents farm just 75 miles south things are a bit brighter. Here are two photos for "lawn comparison":


These are the grandsons playing with water buckets in my yard...yes, that brown stuff they are standing on is lawn, not dirt! (By the way, my pastures are just as brown as the lawn, except for the occasional spot of green where the bull thistle succeeds in thriving!) Compare that to Elliot posing at Great-Grandma's just a few days earlier:


It looks like he is standing on a green carpet!

Still, we got some nice second cutting hay in the barn (with no danger of being rained on, thank you very much - LOL!) Yield was down, but I am grateful for all I have and also grateful that I insisted on putting more first cutting in the barn than anyone thought I needed! And this weekend, a little bit of showers that actually amounted to measurable rain.

Just to let you know how "high-tech" things are here at Grandma and Papa's house...the boys played for at least an hour with those water buckets. We "polished stones" (don't tell that we were just getting them wet to reveal their beauty!) We watered flowers. We "made" puddles on the path. We "planted" pine cones (after first getting them thoroughly soaked in the water) When we got tired we sat on the blanket and drank lemonade (for boys) and coffee (for grandma and mom) All of this with no elaborate pool set up. When I was a little girl, our pool was either the creek, the river or the stock tank full of clean and numbingly cold water! Squishing tomato worms is another fun entertainment in summer that requires no special electronics or equipment.


These are the joys of summer...oh, and notice little Elliot's high fashion (grin) It is his favorite way of dressing at twenty months. It is either pants with no shirt or shirt with no pants. And he would prefer barefoot, but mama put the shoes on him today.

I'll close with another yellow from the garden right now, the daylilies. This is a new one for my garden and is called "Kindly Light" (I even love the name!) The daylily catalog says it was hybridized in 1949 ~ how come I have never seen this beauty before?!? It is tall and elegant and glows in the garden at just the right time of year. It is also slightly fragrant and a real delight.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Here's Looking At You....


Yes, I know, an often repeated quote from the legendary movie Casablanca. But I couldn't resist ((grin)) It is from one of my favorite scenes of the movie, the ending. I love it and tear up no matter how many millions of times I have seen it (okay, maybe not a million, but lots and lots)

I am participating in the Casablanca KAL, the brainchild of Anne. I love it. It is a great, friendly and focused kal group with a fantastic, kind and creative leader. More Humphrey Bogart themed kal's are planned, if you missed this one ;)

My Casablanca is not lace weight. It is handspun, about a sport or light dk weight. When I did my swatch, I made two on two different size needles. I preferred the smaller needle on the swatch. Well, due to the variegation in weight of my handspun, this is turning out to be even denser that I had thought and I wish I had used the larger needle. Still, it will be warm and comforting on those nights when the sadness of Rick and Ilsa's story will cause me to reach for something that will wrap around my shoulders like a hug.

(I did not wet this at all, just placed it on the chair, so here you see it all curly and fuzzy and not looking lace-like at all! At this point it was just starting Clue 3)

My yarn is silvery grey, reminding me of the fog of the night in the final scene (or maybe the ominous grey of the plane...) My beads are mostly clear, silver lined that glisten like Ilsa's tears as says farewell for a second time to Rick. I made some slight changes to the pattern already, making it my own (grin) though not straying from Anne's themes - which are nothing short of brilliant, let me tell you!

On my De-stashing, De-Cluttering projects, I continue to work on my Wrap Me Up Shawl (though not as much since it has grown so large and the weather is so hot) I have faithfully been working on finishing two of the unfinished socks, but as often happens with second socks, they are taking FOREVER to finish!!!! My Hanami has been put aside until I can bring myself to make a decision about her.

As for the decluttering of the mind? Well, God continues to lead me peacefully. Circumstances around me are whirling fast and furious, and I know that without His presence in my life...honestly, I don't think I would always make it out of bed to face the day. But the more that I find time to spend quietly with Him and in His word, the more able I am to go out and embrace the day! I am truly so blessed.

I've got some pretty new flower pictures to show you, but I need to get out to water the sheep, so I will save those for next time! Oh, and here is the "kid" picture in this post....Mason with one of his harvest of radishes from the garden. He loves gardening!