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Catching Up… And There’s A Lot To Catch Up On!!

DSC_0541Wow, cannot believe how long it’s been!

Life has taken some twists and turns around here over these past few years – some exciting, some amazing, some surprising, lol.

My husband and I have embarked on an exciting and challenging adventure! We are working on a small property we are planning to move to and live on, sustainably and off grid. ย We have just around two lovely acres – some of it forest, all of it beautiful!

In the beginning, we camped…

By year 2, we built the itsy bitsy cozy cabin ๐Ÿ™‚

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It’s a very good example of doing things on a budget! Most of our materials came from job waste and stores such as The Re-store. Definitely a project that I would never have predicted but super satisfying!

This year we are expanding a little and yet to add is the cutest wood cookstove ever. I am pretty excited about that ๐Ÿ™‚

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Going to get more done this weekend so I shall continue in my next post. ย Have a fantastic day! Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Domain Change

Just a quick note – due to financial reasons, I did not renew the knitsnthings.com domain and this blog is now knitsnthings.wordpress.com. Hopefully links are working – please let me know if anything doesn’t seem to work; I’ve repaired anything I’ve noticed so far ๐Ÿ™‚

Our New Shihtzu Puppy!

Good morning! ย I have the CUTEST little guy to introduce today – his name is Charlie and he is a nine week old shih tzu puppy.

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He’s from a local family and is so well adjusted and has settled in with barely a squeak. ย Yes – he squeaks instead of making more likely ‘dog’ noises at this point. ย I’m sure he’s going to have lots to say once his voice comes in!

For a little bit of perspective on his size…

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His toys are mostly cat, lol – a small beanie stuffed with catnip, a few of those balls with the bells inside and a bunny rattle which the bunny never liked but Charlie thinks is awesome lol.

He even managed the steps up to the deck. ย Next? ย Learning how to go down stairs….

Have an excellent day ๐Ÿ™‚

Spinning And Knitting And Getting Things Done!

Happy New Year ๐Ÿ™‚

I haven’t been posting much, I know, but I HAVE been getting things done, which is very unlike me lately….

handspun shetland gaptastic cowl

Despite my ‘sweater guilt’ – caused by my recent inability to finish a full sized project’s – I fell in love with Aidez, a free berocco pattern which I found on Ravelry. Since it requires bulky yarn, I thought I would spin it, of course! I decided on the silver shetland fleece which I bought last year from Devine West Ranch – lovely, soft and I was sure there was enough fleece in the pillow case to make the required approx. 800 metres I wanted (since I am tall and always add a few inches in sleeves and body).

handspun shetland, singles and bulky 3 ply

We all know about the best laid plans, right? Yeah. Not nearly enough, I ended up with approximately 400 metres of lovely soft, spun in the grease, bulky shetland yarn. I washed the yarn within an inch of it’s life to get out the lanolin and last bits of straw and then felted it slightly to make a really nice yarn.

Then, of course, I (queen of five or more projects on the go at the same time, lol) decided it was irresistable and knitted the Gap-tastic Cowl with it, a little bit wider than called for, about 16 inches. It’s awesome AND I FINISHED IT IN ONLY A DAY ๐Ÿ™‚ LOL, did I mention I finished it? That’s my worst habit lately – not finishing things.

Today’s obsession is to spin up some suffolk fleece into a beautiful soft substitute since I still crave Aidez, lol.

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It’s coming out nicely!

Aram! I’m So Glad You’re Here :)

She love to spin

Isn’t she lovely? I think so!

Please welcome my newest wheel – another little piece of Canadian fibre art history. She is marked “Aram Paradis” and was made in Quebec in the latter half of the 1800’s. To make her even more special, we purchased her from her original family. A lovely woman sold her to us, after refusing to sell her to someone the seller suspected was an antique dealer, because we would love her enough!

Bless her. She was right though, you know – I really will love her enough ๐Ÿ™‚

The wheel belonged to the seller’s great grandmother, who used to spin on her often – I was even given a small amount of cotton sliver which was, according to the seller, her great grandmother’s and what she would commonly spin on the wheel. This same seller has another wheel (her grandmother’s) which is a Canadian Production Wheel, in perfect pristine condition. If she ever decides to sell it, she’s going to call us. I’ll let you know ๐Ÿ™‚

It seems she has been modified to work with a spindle – somewhat like a great wheel. What remained of this modification when we got her was the whorl but no spindle piece. There was a second hole drilled (perfectly, might I add) in her mother of all for the front maiden, to facilitate the modification. She looked like this;

Just a little bit dry

the modification

First off, she needed a coat of blo/turpentine – the poor baby was parched.

What a differenc oil makes

I moved the maiden back to the original hole and made her some new leathers (made from an old full grain leather belt, bonded together for the front maiden to create a sturdy bearing)…

Making new leathers

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For the back leather, I used a single layer of the same belt leather but since it’s a bit on the stiff/thick side, soaked it in water for a couple hours and then clamped it to create a tight bearing…

Clamping the leather for the back maiden

My baby had no flyer/bobbin whatsoever so I had to look around the house for something suitable. Thankfully the other wheels LOVE to share. My first attempt was an old lithuanian flyer that I have. Quite sadly (since this is my only flyer without it’s own wheel), it was too short and had some issues with spinning properly – sort of a dud. Second attempt was to try one of the cpw flyers (a Vezina, in fact). This was too long…

At this point it was very ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ and, just like in the story, the third try fit just right ๐Ÿ™‚ I ended up fitting ‘Grandpa’s’ flyer to her – a very close to perfect fit. In order for it to be a PERFECT fit would mean finding a flyer with about the same length of arms/bobbin BUT with a longer tail end for the back bearing. Since I didn’t have such a flyer, I added a rabbit skin ‘sleeve’ inside the back bearing, to hold the shorter tail end. Grandpa says he’s happy to have helped ๐Ÿ™‚

Rabbit skin sleeve for back bearing

Did I mention her perfect hub?? Really awesome for her age…

No cracks in the hub

She’s stamped but this isn’t the clearest picture…

marked aram paradis

And in her glory – all glowing and spinning!!

Pretty!

We had a few issues as we began spinning together. I don’t blame her really since she’s not used to working after all these years ๐Ÿ™‚ Her treadle kept trying to fall out of the leg nearest the spinner on the wheel end – there was an old injury to that leg and a groove there so I used a bit of belt leather and made a split washer which I placed on the other end of the treadle bar, at the leg closest to the mother of all. This keeps the treadle from moving over as far as it wants and falling out on the wheel side. Also looks very appropriate, which I like ๐Ÿ™‚

The cross piece that the treadle sits on is so old and brittle with an old staple repair underneath. It did snap shortly into our spinning together BUT I didn’t want to replace it with a new piece of wood.

Cover your eyes now if you are particular about correct repairs! My solution was to fit the shattered old wood back together underneath and then bond the whole thing back together with some 5 minute epoxy. Yes, a woodworking sin. BUT! She looks original and that was what I wanted. If this doesn’t work in the long run I can always replace the cross bar. I wasn’t approaching the project in terms of resale value but from a working/original wheel perspective.

Finally…my little helper has been by ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve convinced him that the winder is ‘his’ wheel…

The little spinner and 'his' wheel

He has, however, gotten older and now he has noticed that ‘his’ wheel doesn’t seem to do it right. LOL. He brought his bobbins over to my wheel to see what was going on last time…

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He really is the cutest little guy ๐Ÿ™‚ Plays piano when he’s not spinning….babies are awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

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Have a fantastic day!

So That’s Where All The Pillowcases Are…Taking Inventory

Good morning!

Another ‘weekend’ for me and I’ve decided to include fleece inventory in my cleaning – more ofย  a thorough spring-type-cleaning than I usually do ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I *think* I’ve gotton most of my clean fleeces together now and WOW – I think I can spin for the next year without really needing to buy anymore, lol.ย  Here’s a pic…

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Yep, lol.ย  A little bit carried away.ย  But (in my defense), quite a bit of this was free so how could I help it? ๐Ÿ™‚ย  There is still some awaiting washing, in bins, both alpaca and woolย — as well as the bin of clean soft-as-a-babys-skin alpaca, of a much higher quality than the alpaca here in the pillow cases.

The group includes;
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Free meat sheep fleece – three bags full! – black, very springy, good for socks/mittens/scarfs and outerwear.

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Free meat sheep fleece, I presume suffolk/suffolk cross – both lamb and young adult – great for socks, mittens, outerwear, felting – springy and very white.ย  I have managed to stuff this into one oversized pillowcase and one of those shopping bags.ย  I believe I have more of this if I get around to washing it.

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Silver/black and red mohair – great for blending for socks/mittens/outerwear.ย  ‘Nature’s Nylon’

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A full bag of mid grade alpaca (free!) which I’ve found is excellent for spinning for mittens and the lighter shades dye wonderfully for stranded colour work.ย  I blend this with wool to give it a little bit of memory.ย  I also have this in two lighter shades….

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And yes, there’s more…

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This is some Border Leicester that I purchased last year – lovely, long and silky – great for blending for socks or anything where you want to add some silky strength.

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This is absolutely lovely silver shetland fleece (about 1.5 to 2 fleeces left) which I absolutely think is a staple fibre.ย  I’ve belended this with so many things! Spins up lovely on it’s own too ๐Ÿ™‚

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This is probably my current favorite fiber.ย  Purchased from Raspberry Hollow, it is a mixed breed lambswool which I cannot remember, with excellent crimp and beautiful softness.ย  Love it.

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And finally – some really wonderful icelandic lamb fiber purchased last year from a local ebay seller.ย  soft and silky!

More to come – I’ve got to see what I’ve got in bins and then there’s going to be the yarn to go through, lol.ย  Oh yes, and the cotton.ย  And the silk. Probably a little bit of superwash merino to rediscover as well…

Happy fiber addictions people!ย  We could do worse things ๐Ÿ™‚

The Little Summer Lace Socks And The Pattern

NOTE: In the pattern, where I say to disregard row 1, I mean row one (the ‘no stitch’ row) of the charted pattern – I made the chart one row too long. The written pattern is correct as written. Sorry for any confusion! ๐Ÿ™‚

Hello ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been working on a little personal challenge – my socks are wearing out (they’re handknit so they are all a few years old) and I needed some more.ย  The socks I like, however, are little.ย  Ankle socks.ย  With lace….lots of lace!ย  Of course, as it usually is when one has something definite in mind – I couldn’t really find a pattern I liked for it’s style and pattern.

So – I decided to design some.ย  These are the first and I’ve made the pattern available as a pdf;ย  The Little Summer Lace Socks

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They fit really nicely since the lace gives them stretch.ย  The edge sits just below the ankle.

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I designed the lace by modifying an existing pattern, “String of Beads” from the book “Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls” by Martha Waterman.

Enjoy, I know I am ๐Ÿ™‚

If you are interested in my handspun yarn for sale, please have a look at my HandSpunYarn site.

ย Have a fantastic day!

It’s A Turkish Wheel!

Good morning! I should call this ‘tales from the rabbit hole’, me thinks ๐Ÿ™‚

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We acquired this beautiful Turkish ‘Nomad’ Spinning Wheel this past weekend. She’s beautiful and very very old. The couple who sold her to us bought her on the Turkey/Russia border, years ago, on a trip. I haven’t mastered spinning with her – she’s a little bit moody and operates on a bobbin led, no brake system. Apparently spinning on these is similar to charka spinning. Of course, I’ve never charka spun, either!

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I scrubbed her down with methyl hydrate (standard warning – these rags will spontaneously combust if left in a pile and not dried flat and disposed of properly) and a bit of steel wool. I tried the toothbrush (my favorite method) but her dirt went a little deeper. The steel wool is fine and doesn’t mar the wood…

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She cleaned up really nicely…and with a few shims to tighten up some joints (I used stretchy plumbers tape – not sticky – to wrap the maidens so they weren’t loose) and plan to use some wire to stabilize some of the more serious cracks. I feel like the cracks are stable as is but who knows how heat/humidity and use will affect things. I feel like the wire wraps will be a good way to repair her without taking away from her history. I would HATE to have to replace a part completely.

Another view of the dirt – precleaning –
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My baby after her bath…and a little tung oil massage…
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I Can’t Believe I’m Out Of Free Flickr!

Yes, only for this month… November will be here before we know it!

I’m working on the cutest ‘bunny rabbit’ sweater – from some fleece artist ‘peter rabbit’ which I had in three pinks. Not enough of it for a one colour sweater but I think my striping helps the colours work together. I’ll post a picture as soon as I’m able….probably November first ๐Ÿ™‚

We had my daughter and my grandson visiting recently and boy oh boy, is that boy ever growing!! ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s doing a fantastic job with him….

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Have a great day!

Basset Baby!!!!

Awesome day, my friends ๐Ÿ™‚ We found a beautiful baby basset hound!!

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She is 9 1/2 weeks old and her name is Rosa ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s such a sweet puppy and we’re so glad to have found her. We drove for a long time yesterday to get her but it was well worth the trip! She did cry for most of the ride (I think the driving scared her) but has been excellent and fitting in quite nicely since we got home.

She’s pretty small still…

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and she’s definitely interested in spinning (or at least smelling sheep)…

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She and the boy are almost inseparable (he’s already sad about going to school on monday!)…

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She loves to cuddle…

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and certainly has Dora’s attention…

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Of course…we all like to cuddle ๐Ÿ™‚

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If anyone is interested in finding a beautiful, quality, registered basset in Ontario, check out the ‘Autumn Blaze Bassets’ site – they have a website and I highly recommend them!

Knitting Like Crazy For Christmas…

Yes, it’s almost here.ย  Or so it feels like, anyways!ย  I have so many things I want to finish up and a few things finished, so far…

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These are my ‘Inspired By Colour’ mittens using Marks and Kattens ‘Trend’ (party colourway) and Patons ‘Kroy Sock’ 4 ply (black). They knit up to a medium woman’s size with a snug, cozy fit and a longish cuff to keep your wrists toasty all winter.

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I’ve made sweaters for two of my girls…the first is ‘Amused’ by Jordana Paige (from knitty, winter 2008).ย I knit this with Patons ‘Classic Wool’ (where did you go merino?) in Jade Heather.

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The second is ‘Egret’ by Norah Gaughan, available as a free pattern from Berocco.com. I knit this one also in the Classic Wool, in Cognac Heather.

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The buttons were just perfect!

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Off to knit a pair or two of slippers…the list is far from done! Happy knitting and have a great day ๐Ÿ™‚

Inspired!

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I’ve been working on a new pattern – for stranded mittens – for my daughter for Christmas. The pattern was inspired by a really beautiful yarn. It has everything stranded mittens need (in my opinion of course!) – great colour, fingering weight, a bit of ‘grab’, superwash and wool. For what more could I ask?

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I’ve paired it with Paton’s ‘kroy’ sock 4 ply in black – to give it a chance to do it’s colourful thing. Oh yes – the yarn – it’s Marks and Kattens ‘Fame Trend’ in the colourway ‘party’. I found it at the Knit and Quilt in Barrie a week or two ago. Beautiful! I will definitely be back for more!

I’ve finished the pattern and have knitted the first mitten. I’ve posted the pdf pattern, if you’d like to use it –

The pattern;
InspiredByColourMittenPattern

My mitten (unblocked)…

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Please let me know how it works out for you!
Have a great day ๐Ÿ™‚

A Hat Fit For A Princess

I’ve finished the hat to match my ‘Snowflake Princess’ sweater coat!ย  I have also written out the PATTERN in case anyone else is interested in making it.

Here it is…
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So cute ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s about 7″ tall and 17″ unstretched, around.

I’m going to make mittens next!

Happy Halloween :)

My son’s costume this year was very cool…and scaaaaary, of course!ย ๐Ÿ™‚

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ย 

In other news…

My blanket is coming along nicely, knitted mostly from the stash.ย  It’s about 50 x 50 inches so far!ย  I’m using a simple, short row spiral pattern that I found free on the net – I’ll post pictures and a link to the pattern as soon as I’m done.ย  It’s another one for the Christmas pile.ย 

A good thing too…it’s a transition time for us – my husband, bless him, had a feeling things at work were not going so well and he was absolutely right — the boss is now just about bankrupt AND without any work at all.ย  Thankfully my husband is good at this kind of thing and isn’t skipping a beat – he’s got a new job beginning monday.ย  The nice part is we get to spend TWO whole days together this weekend, lol.ย  The not so nice is we were ripped off for aย few hundred dollars when the guy up and changed the way my husband was paid last week WITHOUT even talking to him (I’m pretty sure it’s illegal) and changed him from salary to hourlyย – meaning we’re a little short but we’ll be fine with a bit of juggling.ย  S’ok, he owes my husband quite a large amount of holiday pay (almost two years worth – thankfully we have every pay stub) so that should help us once it is paid – here’s hoping that’s reasonably soon.ย  We sort of think it’s going to take the labour board to help get him to do that.

It all makes me want to knit us up a whole Christmas – which I quite possibly could, lol.ย  I’ve got quite a lot in the stash and I feel it’s a great time to cut back where I can and use the things we’ve stored up over time.ย  Our kids are old enough and have enough that they already know that I want to focus less on presents and they are fine with it – my one daughter is in total support and old enough to understand my opinion that ‘stuff’ makes us weak – that ‘stuff’ is not the important part – that ‘stuff’ is mostly just a waste of money and the time spent making the money.

Spin The Stress Away!

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I’ve been wanting to make this sweater for a while – it’s been in my ravelry waiting on me. I decided to start spinning some superwash for it and I’m hoping I have enough of this green to get 600 or so yards.

I like to spin when I’m stressed. It’s so calming, I find. I’ve been having some (TMI) women’s health issues – I’ve seen a doctor and have appointments set up within the next few weeks with the appropriate specialists. Here’s hoping it’s not the nasty ‘C’ thing. The doc’s I saw have no idea.

I’ve made a few changes…I’m drinking more tea than coffee…cutting down on my smoking…eating really well…doing what I can to feel better, if even only in my head. I’m almost 40 – it’s time to get healthy. I’ve just always been so healthy that I take it for granted. Not a good idea.

I’m feeling all worn out but I’m guessing that’s stress.

A Very Pretty Painting…

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The photo isn’t doing it justice but I found this very beautiful oil painting at the local second hand store today…I just love it! ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s small…about 7″ x 10″ and perhaps not ‘worth’ anything but I really liked it, the picture, the colours, the look.

Congratulations Graduate!

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I’m so proud ๐Ÿ™‚

We had an awesome time at my daughter’s graduation ceremony tonight…such a nice group of kids and such a caring school community…I’m beaming!

A picture with her dad ๐Ÿ™‚

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Mystery Pullies….

I’m trying to figure out what these pullies are on my weaving loom. Hopefully these pictures help explain what I mean ๐Ÿ™‚

There are these brackets on either side…

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Leading up to three pulleys…

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The pulleys and the brackets/slots are on either side and I have no clue what they are for! It seems if you ran rope through them, and though the pulleys it would travel over the center pulleys which are attached to the heddle frames.

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I Can’t Believe It!

I have MISPLACED (I refuse to use the word LOST) so many of my magazines and books and I’ve got no idea how or where or anything!

It all became apparent yesterday when I was looking for a magazine (IK I think?) that had a beautiful sock ‘recipe’ for all sizes, guages, etc…for toe up socks…that I often use when trying to design a new sock pattern…

Thank goodness that I’ve written it out in the past when I wrote the other sock patterns…I didn’t write out the guage charts (sure wish I had!) but at least I could recover the basics of the short row heel that I like to use.

Then my daughter asked for a book, for school, that I haven’t seen in quite a while and had almost forgotten about…leading me to consider all the other books that are missing. If there is any hope of finding them they may be in the basement in one of the unpacked boxes. LOL, at this point I’m wondering how we decided to put thoses boxes down there in the first place or if we were just tired the night we were moving in! Looking through all of them is NOT something I’m looking forward to but I really like knowing where my things are!

I managed to figure out my sock pattern anyways…it’s the Candy Stripe Socks pattern listed in the pages. They use, of course, the Candy Stripe Yarn that I spun from the superwash merino from the black lamb. I’m almost done the first sock…

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I thought the twists in this pattern were reminiscent of the twists of candy cane sticks ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also taken a picture of the spinning I’m working on…the first ply for the four ply….

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Enjoy your day ๐Ÿ™‚

Silver Lights…

I’m up to 699 metres of yarn in my recent spinning project!! Yay and thank goodness, lol.

I think I’m going to call it ‘silver lights’. I have a really hard time naming yarn but it’s the ‘done’ thing. As I spun it, (and am still spinning it), the grey comes through as a shiny silver peeking through the black…or that’s what I kept thinking, hence the name…

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I don’t know if you can see in the picture but the second ‘set’ (on the winder) is a lighter colour…more of the silver is coming through. LOL…it’s not as easy as it looks to make a consistant yarn. I’m thinking I’m going to need to incorporate some subtle striping to make the colours look intentional!

I need about another 300 metres — really hoping the rovings go that far. From now on, I’m going to buy the rovings in two pound lots so in future I don’t have to fret over having enough for a project ๐Ÿ™‚

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Yay May!

Good morning ๐Ÿ™‚

So, not much is new…lol…since my last post was last night, I suppose that makes sense!

I’m excited…spring MUST be here to stay now. I’m ignoring all the snow around Ontario lately, lol…especially ok since I haven’t seen any of it around here!

I’ve been taking one of each type of tulip I see in my yard – to keep in the house and remind me of spring…I LOVE flowers! ๐Ÿ™‚ Tulips are fantastic because they keep so long in water…I swear they LIKE to be in a vase. Or, in this case, a wine glass ๐Ÿ™‚

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The Quote…

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends; succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world your best anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

This is the quote attributed to Mother Theresa which I was referring to…I wanted to post it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is a second version…

ANYWAY
People are unreasonable, illogical, self-centered
…love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives
…do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies
…be successful anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow
…do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable
…be honest and frank anyway.
People love underdogs but follow only top dogs
…follow some underdog anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight
…build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you try to help
…help people anyway.
If you give the world the best you have, you may get kicked in the teeth
…but give the world the best you have
…ANYWAY.

Moved!

Yay ๐Ÿ™‚

ย We found the perfect home for us, near the area where we had moved to live with my parents (what a perfectly ridiculous idea that was!) and it’s excellent. ๐Ÿ™‚

ย We have no cable or internet or phone as of yet.ย  I’m ‘borrowing’ this signal through my wireless connection…

ย It feels so good to be HOME and to have peace and quiet and did I mention peace and quiet?ย  LOL.ย  Lesson learned?ย  Abusive people do not change…it’s just harder to see it when you don’t live with them.ย  Another lesson?ย  Always remember what you already know.ย  And finally?ย  Appreciate what you have and never ever take it for granted.ย ย The experience was a learning one at the very least!

LOL…looking on the bright side and moving forward, right?ย ย  Have an excellent day!