Friday, November 28, 2008

Hints of Knits

Hello again ~ two posts in one day, how about that? LOL...and both about knitting!

After the snow flurries and grey skies of this morning, late this afternoon the sun broke through for some November brilliance before it got ready to sink to the west. Sitting in my front room, knitting by the (unlit) fireplace the sunlight streams in...and I couldn't resist some knitting project "teasers" or hints ((grin))

These are two of the gift projects I mentioned in my earlier post that I have been working on, posing by the stone fireplace. I hope the photos won't totally give them away to the recipients who might be reading my blog, but I had fun taking them and wanted to share

First, here and at the opening of this post, something Bittersweet ~

The glow of the yarns warm me just looking at them!

And this little bit...does it look warm and wooly enough to keep you warm?

Okay, that is all the knitting hints for today ~ I really must get back to work, so that there will one day be finished items to show! By the way, the birdhouse that is posing with Bittersweet was made some years ago by my very talented Mom...

Black Friday?

Doesn't seem right, because there is "white" stuff falling from my sky (grin)....I thought I would celebrate "black" Friday by knitting with some black wool today ;)

I don't do shopping (unless it is yarn shops or farmers markets), so to venture out today would have been silly. Plus Bill and I have the house to ourselves this day after Thanksgiving, and it is a cloudy and blustery day - what better thing to do than stay indoors with yarn? I pretty much cleaned everything up before bed last night so woke up to a semi-clean house (those of you who know my home, know that "clean" is a relative term!) I had considered driving west to Holland, Michigan, to take in the opening day of the Kerstmarkt. My online, fellow Michigan sheepbreeder friends Mike and Lona from Shady Side Farm will be there, plus other vendors, in what is called "an authentic, open-air, European Christmas market" - doesn't that sound neat? The way the weather is acting here this morning, though, I think it is good I decided to stay home. I am planning to go at least one day before it is finished (maybe tomorrow?)

Speaking of Shady Side Farm, I wanted to make this post about knitting and fibery stuff and I am sooooo excited to show you a project I have been working on that includes yarn from Shady Side, as well as yarn from my own sheep:

PATTERN: Fiddlehead Mittens by the amazing Adrian
YARN: Millspun from Shady Side Farm "Guns and Roses"(MC); millspun from Serenity Farms pink,rose and natural colored (grey) Corriedale lamb.

I started these with the Ravelry knit-a-long group the first of November (you can also find out more about them at Adrian's Hello Yarn Ravelry group). I love the pattern and love the colors and love the feel...these were going to be a gift, because pink isn't really my color, but they fit me so perfectly - LOL! I really enjoy making lined mittens and have done many pairs this way over the years. I especially like the technique because you can use a stronger, harder wearing (and often not-so-soft) wool for the outer mitten, and something soft and cozy for the liner. In this case, it also works to cover up the strands of the colorwork, even though mine are pretty neat (if I do say so myself). I had originally planned to use black as the third color, but when I started with it there was just to much contrast. Now as I look at them, I almost wish I would have used the rose (darker pink) in the center - the grey nearly gets lost, doesn't it? Oh well, I will keep on as it is. I would have them finished by now, that is how much I love knitting them, but I have a few other gift items to finish up and I don't need the Fiddleheads to be done till the first weekend of January. So much as I hate to, they have been sitting aside for the time being. Here is another shot, with maybe a bit better lighting:

I can't show you the other nearly finished projects (also mittens, and one pair of socks) because as I mentioned, they are gifts.

I can show you some dyeing projects, though. Last weekend, my blogless friend Mary (who is on Ravelry - find her there as clevasgirl) and I made the trip to Grand Rapids and City Knitting to take a dyeing workshop with wonderful Rita from Yarn Hollow.

Here is the mad-dyer, my friend Mary

and here is Rita (right), answering dyeing questions.

I dyed two different sock "blanks", just because I had never done them before. One I was quite happy with and is in the photo below on the left. It is kind of "Opal-esque", don't you think? I am planning for it to be another pair of Jaywalker socks. The other is very ugly in the blank, but I am sure it will be fine once I skein it up (and then I will show you a photo!) The yarn in the larger skein on the right is some of my own Corriedale, a natural smokey brown, that I overdyed. I LOVE how this one turned out and wish I would have done two skeins (of course I didn't) There is 500 yards here, enough for a nice scarf and that is probably what I will make with it.

If you ever have the opportunity to take a class with Rita, or to purchase yarn or fiber dyed by her, please don't hesitate to do so. She is an amazing, generous, talented and fun person to learn from...and I do mean generous! I came away with my head spinning from all that she shared with us. I am hoping to take another class from her after the first of the year. Oh, and I also really enjoyed seeing City Knitting for the first time (I know I will be going back when I have more time to shop!)

So there is my knitting and dyeing update. I haven't been doing much spinning, except for one batch of sock yarn that is being knitted up for a special friend. I need to get back to the wheel(s) one of these days!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Ordinary Road

"My Father God, help me to expect Thee on the ordinary road. I do not ask for sensational happenings. Commune with me through ordinary work and duty. Be my Companion when I take the common journey. Let the humble life be transfigured by Thy presence" Charles E. Cowman

These past few days I have been taking care of some ordinary, common chores around the farm to get things settled in for the winter time. Daylight comes early and leaves early in the winter season, so these chores can use up most of a day! With help from dear friends, the sheep barn is clean as a whistle (well, almost - LOL!) and the compost (manure) piles are turned for the time. Most of the ewes appear to be bred and the rams have settled in to their routine. The temporary fences are folded and put away till next spring. All the farm vehicles have been checked for antifreeze, the lawn mower and rotatiller are put away. I still have a pickup load of lawn furniture to haul over to the Burnham barn for winter storage and I need to finish putting the window covers over the barn windows, but that is the bulk of it. I enjoy the slow pace and the satisfaction of these simple daily jobs.

Now for today, Dear Lord, from The Simple Woman's Devotion, I bring to you

My impatience and frustrations, Lord

I bring you my worship and praise...for the simple joy of the ordinary road, for this life you have given me and my prayer is that my eyes and heart will always be open to daily communion with You as I walk this road

I bring you the prayer shared at the opening of this post. Help me to grow in my everyday living, always seeking and always looking for You at every turn.

You spoke to me..."And the peace of God, which transcends all our powers of thought, will be a garrison to guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (Phillipians 4:7)

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!!! I pray that you and your families will find some time to enjoy an ordinary day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Simple Devotion ~ November 19

Please visit Peggy's blog "The Simple Woman" to learn more about her latest weekly focus, Simple Devotion, and also just to enjoy her simple ways ;)

Here is my Simple Devotion for Wednesday, November 19, 2008!

For Today, Dear Lord, I bring you ~

My shortcomings ~ my heart, oh Lord, that you continue to work on stir me up and create more and more desire to not only serve you in every area of my life, but also to worship and praise You...which speaks directly to our next area ;D

My worship and praise ~ that You are not only my Saviour, but also my Father, my Brother, my Friend, my Director, my Guide and my Comforter

I bring you my prayer ~ for our new President, that is the prayer that is on my heart this morning. Keep him safe, Lord, physically and spiritually. Keep him humble and focused. Lead and guide him, Dear God. And most of all, Lord, work a healing in our nation.

You spoke to me ~ in my morning devotional Streams In The Desert: II Corinthians 1:8,9 "I was much so that I despaired even of life, but that was to make me rely not on myself, but on the God who raises the dead"

Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length;
Pressed so intensely it seems, beyond strength;
Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul,
Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll.
Pressure by foes, and a pressure from friends.
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.

Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into loving the staff and the rod.
Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
Pressed into faith for impossible things.
Pressed into living a life in the Lord,
Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.

The pressure of hard places makes us value life. Every time our life is given back to us from such a trial, it is like a new beginning, and we learn better how much it is worth, and make more of it for God and man. The pressure helps us to understand the trials of others, and fits us to help and sympathize with them....A. B. Simpson

Let me rely more and more every day, in every thing, on you, God

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Fun Fall Mystery

I was so excited to stumble across this mystery knit, just as it was getting ready to start ~ The Yarnarian Mystery Sock KAL!

First of all, it was fun to find the mystery. Second of all, it was even more fun to find Ruth's blog and I have been having a blast reading it ;) Thirdly, and on a more dangerous note, there is Ruth's yarns and patterns...oh my!!! I say dangerous because how do you expect a sock and yarn addict to resist??? I am making a Christmas and birthday wish list for my family - LOL (she does have an Etsy shop)!

Anyway, be sure to go and check out Ruth's (The Yarnarian) blog for all of these things - mystery, socks, yarn and good reading. And its not to late to join in the sock knitting mystery fun! Here is my progress, both cuffs done, and ready to start the Second Clue, which is posted today:

I am using a pretty dark green sock yarn from my stash, and I seem to have lost the label, but it might be Froehlich Wolle (which I love) and would have been purchased from Sweetwood Farms (sadly now closed) Needles are size 1, dpn's, and I am knitting two socks at a time on two different sets (don't like magic loop or two circs all that much)

And be sure to read Ruth's post on Fudging your knitting...oh my goodness, I could have written that post ;D

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Happy Day All Around

Today is my dearest daughter's birthday (for those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, you might remember that last year we celebrated her 30th birhtday - LOL!) How do you think we celebrated, after coffee and birthday cake and presents??? By wrangling my long time favorite sheep helper (that would be said daughter) into helping me pen up ewes, change a few coats and then....big drumroll here....PUT THE RAMS AND EWES TOGETHER! Woo-hoo, breeding season has begun around the old Serenity Farms sheep barn ;D

All went smoothly, and I have seen five breedings so far today...hehe

Something I thought of today, from the day my daughter was born. She was born at 7:27 am. I was a youngster myself. I delivered her completely natural - no drugs! I had gained 60 pounds (though she was only a 7 pound, 11 ounce baby). I was tired. I was excited to be able to sleep on my stomach for the first time in a long time - LOL! I remember that I was sleeping soundly when a nurse came into the room wheeling my daughter, woke me up and told me she was going to teach me to bathe an infant. Hehehe...I can only remember indignantly telling her that I was the oldest of five children and knew very well how to bathe a baby!!! I also remember my mom bringing me the best treat in the whole wide world later that morning....I had been on a restricted diet (no salt/sodium) What did my wonderful mom bring to me???? A bologna sandwich, on white bread, with lettuce, swiss cheese and miracle whip salad dressing with a side of potato chips!!! Let me tell, my mouth still waters thinking of that delicious treat after weeks of denial ;D And though now my tastes lean towards a more healthy turkey, mustard, red onion, spinach on whole grain (and skip the chips), I am still known to gobble up the good ol' bologna on white bread! Good memories....

Tonight, though, my heart and thoughts are with a very dear, long distance, fiber friend Kimberly and her family. They are celebrating today, too. Husband and special dad, Jim, is home. Home two days early. Home safely. Home from war.

I can't even begin here to tell you of what very special, extra-ordinary people these two parents are. But if you would like to visit Kim's blog for proof of Jim's homecoming and maybe even to wish them well, you can go to Woven~N~Spun and say hi.

I just keep getting teary eyed tonight over it all. We have spent many prayer filled days and nights with Kimberly these past few months and now, to think of them together tonight under the same roof...whew, it just overwhelms me - I can't imagine what it is like for them. And it renews my prayers for so many others still overseas...

Big hugs, Kim and Jim!