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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dye-ing Weekend

The fruits from the weekends labors:

Hand dyed silk hankies; these are a very labor intensive dye project.  The hankies are weighed out into half ounce stacks and then need to be soaked for a good long time to be saturated.  In order to "speed" the process I added a bit of  Synthrapol (a wetting agent).  Next day they were wrung out and then unfolded into a stainless steel pan and each stack dribbled and massaged with dye and then steamed in the microwave for two minutes.  I generally do a minimum of two stacks of the same colors because you have to clean up between colors.  They always end up incredibly vibrant and intense!  They are a lot of work but very pretty in the end.

I also dyed 19 skeins of sport weight Polwarth and Silk (85:15), and 8 skeins of worsted weight Polwarth and Silk (60:40).  Duncan and Lila both helped out here; Duncan did the vibrant blues on the right bottom, and Lila the purple/salmon skeins on the upper right.  There are a couple skeins missing that were in the dye-pot at the time of the photo that are a lovely plum color.  This yarn was a mixture of hand painting and kettle dyed.  All of this yarn and the silk hankies will be going down with Lila and I to the Northern Michigan Lamb and Wool Festival at the end of the month. 
Join us there if you can!  :)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Time has Wings and it sure does fly

The annual First Day of School Photo.

I do not know where the summer went this year it seemed to have sped by.  It wasn't because we went on many exotic trips, or many trips at all for that matter.  It was just full of the everyday events that continue on relentlessly....get up at 5:00-ish, have a cuppa, feed animals, exercise (maybe), take a shower, off to work, stop at the store on the way home, make dinner, check on the animals, have a grown-up beverage, watch some (Castle, Grimm, Warehouse 13 etc...) while knitting or spinning, gather in the cats, read (a few paragraphs or pages before the book hits the floor), sleep.  Then the whole thing starts up again (if one is fortunate).   It seems rather monotonous, but goes by quickly.   This is my way of saying I haven't really had much to say all summer because nothing has changed much!  Sorry to be so out of touch.

There were many small things that we did; Lila was in "Follywood", Uncle Johnny visited, Grandma visited, and some cousins came by (all in the same week mind you....), Duncan played baseball, D & Sam played soccer.  Lila worked cleaning cabins this summer and earned about $1,000;  90% of which she put into her savings and college account. Sam taught us how to play Dungeons and Dragons, and Duncan is teaching us how to play Texas Hold'em poker (where did HE learn to play it?).  Duncan went to Copper Harbor with his cousins and Lila attended Author Quest (i.e. writing camp) again; this year as a "counselor in training".  We tended the garden and are busy making jam, blanching and freezing veggies, and making tomato sauce and dilly beans.  Will has been peddling veggies, wool and knit goods at the Curtis Farmer's Market on Wednesdays, we participated in the giant puppet show at Art on the Lake once again.  I've been doing a fair bit of knitting which has been fun- lots of baby hats and fingerless mitts.

Sam was Ruthette's new puppet this year!

I had almost two years worth of fiber to deal with, as I only had about 10 fleeces made into roving last year.  It took me a couple of weekends and several days off to pick through all of the alpaca fiber and skirt the sheep fleeces and Lila and I drove them down to East Jordon to be made into roving, combed top, and yarn.  Hopefully the roving will be done in the next couple of weeks; the yarn will be a few more months.  It was a LOT of fiber!  all of the alpaca is being made into yarn this year as I still have some roving left from the last batch.  It will be exciting to have yarn from our own animals that I don't have to spin first. Not that I don't like spinning, but it is much harder to start an impromptu project.  I saved a few very nice batches of Suri that I will send off to a mill in Ohio that will spin 100% Suri fingering yarn; that will take about 10 months to get back but will be worth the wait I think.

The animals are doing well, though I have a few old sheep (they are 12 years old) who are starting to look their age.  My favorite- Fancy, though I'm not supposed to have one, is among them.  The alpacas are down the road on their summer pasture.

Northern Michigan Lamb and Wool Festival is the last weekend in September and Lila and I will be vending again.  I've been dying yarn (polworth and silk primarily), and will finish that up this weekend along with dying some silk hankies.  I'm also knitting some long elbow length fingerless gloves that are cabled and are black- those are for me; a treat to wear to NML&WF if I get them finished!  I've been knitting while "watching" TV and our living room is very dimly lit- I've had to use a flashlight knitting that black yarn which has elicited some laughter from the rest of the crew.  I will post pictures of the lovely yarn after it dries.

We went to the Michigan Renaissance Festival three weekends ago and had a great time, though were rained out after a few hours.  We will go back next saturday and hopefully I can get some pictures.  Lila had dressed up in a dress she made which fit the period and bought some cute little satyr horns which fit the outfit perfectly.  This time the boys are going to go all steampunk.

School seems to be going well these first few days.  Duncan is still playing Baritone sax, Sam loves his classes, and Lila has art finally as an elective.  She will be dangerous with some formal training. ;)  First Advanced Placement class in History so more homework this year as well.  Glee has started and hockey won't be far behind, and then it will be the!