Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Nature Reclaims the Gulf

It has been unspeakably sad these days to learn of the devastation of the Gulf states affected by Katrina. I'm sure it is keenly felt by people all over the US as well as the rest of the world, but as a New Englander I am very distressed because we, too, know how terrible hurricanes can be. The history of New England weather reveals the Hurricane of 38 as well as Hurricane Carol which struck Rhode Island when I was four years old.

The residents of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are in my thoughts. How difficult their lot must be.

I did make it to Sue's last night and had a good time chatting with Sue who was spinning non- stop on her new Hitchhiker wheel. Paula arrived with her beautiful hand dyed aran in tow. Patty also was present working on her soon to be born granddaughter's knitted blanket.

Here is a pic of the wonderfully rusted fence taken at Caprilands.....

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

SP Reveals Identity !!

I now know who my SP is!!! Her name is Barbara and she is so generous to me and to other Secret Pals who did not receive their gifts in the SP exchange. She has been an Angel for the SP5 program. Check out her blog and you will see she is a prolific sock knitter.

She sent me 6 ounces of Woolen Rabbit's luscious angora/merino. How did she know that I was lusting after this fiber :) Thanks you Kim for recommending this choice. It is soooo soft!As you can see I received other special gifts like some Alaskan syrup, Serendipity needles, a sweater pattern and some school supplies to remind me that I don't have to go back to school this fall.

Thank you, Barbara!!!

Monday, August 22, 2005

A Day of Unexpected Pleasure

Judith, Kristen and I arrived at Caprilands in North Coventry, CT around 10:30am on this delightful summer day full of expectation for our visit to the famed land of herbs. Something, however, appeared to be amiss. To begin with the gentleman who stood on the property seemed to barely notice our arrival as he continued to spray water on the ground which he said he needed to cleanse. We were not put off by this greeting, but continued to the Gift Shop looking for some direction to guide our tour. We spotted an Open sign and proceeded to go inside, but not before I took a pic of Judith and Kristen.

Once inside we witnessed a museum of a bygone era if that can be safely said of a gift shop frozen in time. The shop contained relics of jams and jellies, Christmas recipes,herbal dainties of all kinds. The rafters were filled with drying herbs left there from long ago.

From there we decided to inquire about the gardens. Much to our dismay the gardens had been abandoned in many respects. Weeds had overgrown such formerly beautiful gardens such as the Star Garden, the Shakespeare garden,the Colonial garden, and the Silver garden. The Silver garden was much touted in gardening circles that paid homage to Adelma Grenier Simmons whose herbal gardening, afternoon teas and luncheons were reputed to be special.

Even the garden of roses was overgrown and crowded, but it's nameplate remained.

I was taken with the cracked pot under some shady trees that must have contained other garden wonders.

One of my favorite plants was the sweet pea.It allowed a lovely winged creature to grace its blossoms.....I managed to take a few Sweet Pea seeds for my garden as a remembrance of the day!

Besides the many plants, we also visited with a kindly Border Collie, three cats and several chickens. Notice the chickens below. The white one sipped in the Saints garden while I snapped away. There also were Scottish Blackface sheep to enjoy.

After some repeated attempts to learn more of the farm, the gentleman ( executor of Caprilands) began to tell us about the place including some of the more remarkable specimens on the property. Below you see a native Vibernum bush with beautiful orange berries.

This path was a reminder of Frost's poem The Road Not Taken .....

Lastly we marveled at the main house which was built in 1740.

All in all we had a wonderful day in spite of the fact that Caprilands was not in its original glory. We imagined its former beauty and appreciated it's present beauty. I can only hope some gardening group will restore it for others to continue to enjoy.

The End

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Yesterday....a fellow woolgatherer joined me for a romp. Carol R and I headed to Warwick to find wool remnants and wool we did find:purple and checks, brown tweed and striped colors....all to make a wool quilt. I put the wool in the washing machine and dryer to full it for quilt pieces for Home and Harvest quilt featured in several Quiltmaker's magazines. Just what I need another project :)

We also stopped at a local bookstore where I found and old pamphlet called New Edgings full of crocheted and knitted edgings. After that visit we landed at the new Yarn at Lace Wings next to Kabloom's on Baldhill Road. This is their second store...the first being in Pawtucket. They have some lovely Cascade 220 on sale in tons of colors. I did not buy any yarn!!! Instead I bought the new Three Tweed booklet with patterns designed by Sally Melville. I want to make the jacket on the cover....
From Lace Wings we headed to Manmade by Jonne's to check out his hat kits. We also saw many interesting yarns and a rug loom for sale.

Below is my latest skein of handspun hot off the wheel last night. I spun it from a Romney fleece from Elihu Farms that Sue and Patty procured for me from a recent sheep and wool festival I could not attend. I absolutely adore the browns and golds in this skein.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

To Felt or Not to Felt

Well....what's the verdict? Should I felt this small purse? I knitted it out of some handspun that is well aged. Last night at Sue's the consensus was to felt it. What do you think?

Knit In: As usual we had a great time sharing our work last night at Sue's. We discussed wool quilting, knitting patterns and projects. It appears that our dear Carol R is out of her knitting slump at last. She working on Flower Basket Shawl and has renewed my interest in starting another one. Hers is knitted in her very own butterscotch handspun yarn. She also started the latest Interweave sock pattern in Mountain colors, but see her for that story :). Paula continues her work on the lovely aran, and she finished the Spiral Yoke Sweater in seawater- dyed yarn that is gorgeous. I brought along some show and tell that you have seen on earlier blog entries. Sue showed us the newest Wild Fibers magazine issue.

Below is a pic of my new Keen Shoes!!! I love these shoes; they are waterproof and sooooo comfortable. I got them at Keen's in Wakefield in the boy's department at 20% off. Women's size 8 is equal to boy's size 6 or 7. Keep this in mind ladies because the price of boy's shoes are a lot lower. Of course.... I had to buy boy's Teva's as well....

Today I have to go wool remnant shopping...if anyone wants to go call me :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Of Dreamcatchers and Lizards

Last weekend while flipping the mattress DH caused my Dreamcatcher to fall off the bedpost. I thought he broke it, but I was able to fix it. While repairing it ,I remembered that Cathy sent me two Dove feathers. I added these to the Dreamcatcher since I lost some feathers a while ago. It should work properly now and catch some bad dreams and let the good ones remain....thanks Cathy!!!

Here are the finished Lizard socks!!! I feel so good about finishing these as well as the Shapely Shawlette....I even picked up Kilmainham Scarf this week and worked on it two times( I can do it, Paula).
Tonight I look forward to knitting at Sue's. Hope to see some of you there.....

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Secret Pal Gifts Arrive!

As you know this has been such a hot weekend. My birthday broke a record with a " feel like" temperature of 105 degrees, but nonetheless I had a great day! I had calls from family and friends and DH took me out for a lovely dinner. I also was wowed by my SP who had no idea of the date of my Bday. She sent me the loveliest collection of gifts!!! Another wonderful skein of a to die for sock yarn!!! The other gifts are so wonderful too!!! What a thoughtful SP!!!! Check out the pic below....

I've been knitting a few afghan square as well. This is the first finished square made out of my handspun. Not a great shot, but hey you can see some of the cabling.I'm also working on a magic square I'll post about when finished.

Stay cool folks!!!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Project Completion Continues

I am so pleased with my project completion to date. I noticed that Kristin sets knitting goals for herself which is a great idea, but not one that I readily embrace so when I get on a roll with my projects I am so thrilled. Some bloggers show every step in the completion process which I assume motivates them to finish. That doesn't always work for me as you know since some projects I mention get lost in the shuffle. Why? Because I'm project envious. I see what everyone else is working on and I want to make that too !!!!

Norma is having a fit because she hasn't finished some of her projects. I was there, too, Norma and know how you feel.

I am almost finished with the Lizard they will be finished just in time to enter them in the knitting competition of the Big E. This makes two projects finished in one week. I plan to move on to Kilmainham Scarf and Slip Stitch Cardigan soon.

Today...... August 13th I have the distinct pleasure of sharing my birthday with a virtual spinner and fiber enthusiast. I have never ever met someone who shares my birth date until I began blogging. I hope to celebrate the day by not doing any housework or cooking! I plan to knit and spin and read to my heart's content. I hope Cathy enjoys her day. Stop over and wish her a special day!

You Just Have to Love Rusting Iron

I know I'm certifiably insane. I love rusting iron. I particularly love the burnt orange rust in the picture. I took this shot at Hampton beach during a lovely morning walk by the shore.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Perfect Red

If you haven't picked it up yet, do so. A Perfect Red byAmy Butler Greenfield is well worth your time! Read the review at the Washington Post. It's a fiber enthusiasts kind of book. What espionage and other mayhem transpired over the quest for the color rouge. The other delight is the the unique way you learn world history at the same time. It reminds me of James Burke's Connections in that there is a central organizing element that brings together otherwise disparate elements making them truly sensible. I very much enjoyed this book.

I've now begun reading The Orientalist by Tom Reiss which is a very interesting biography of a man whose life encompassed the whole of the Western and Near Eastern culture of his time.

The second Lizard Sox is near its end! I can next move on to another unfinished project. I'm still in a quandry about what new projects to begin. I've been reading about Birch and Feather and Fan shawls. Who knows what I'll do :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Shawlette is Completed !

The shawlette is finally done thank's to Judy's handspun,hand dyed yarn and my knitting. I'm pleased with the final blocked piece. Blocking really makes such a difference in the final look of lace.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Blocking the Shapely Shawlette

This morning after a strong cup of ice tea I decided to wash and block Shapely Shawlette. Last night I finished adding the crocheted picot edging as a design element. I am pleased with the result.

The wash consisted of a capful of Eucalan in very hot water. Many a knitter fears wool and hot water which is unfounded provided you exercise not agitate, wring or change the water temperature. Yes...this is the opposite of what we do to felt a project. I placed the shawl in the hot bath with Eucalan and let it soak for about 10 minutes, then I removed the shawl and squeezed it to remove some of the water. Do not wring or twist the garment.Next, I put the garment in the washing machine and put it on the spin cycle being careful not to put it on the spin cycle where it adds a cold rinse.After a few minutes of spinning I pin the shawl down to a mattress using sewing pins.You can avoid the washing machine method by placing the wet garment in a towel, rolling the towel up and pressing down on it to remove excess water. Lastly I insert the pins after pulling the shawl taut on a surface that will accept pins. It will dry very quickly if you live in a dry climate. This is New England with 80% humidty so it may take a little more than a day.

Now my task is to finish the second Lizard Sock and Slip Stitch Cardigan which I abandoned in the heat. Of course, I will have to begin at least two new projects. Any suggestions out there for what I should do next?

Monday, August 08, 2005

A Morning of Sea and Mimosas

Here is the 63-foot Brandaris, a Dutch Ship named for a Dutch sea god, built in 1938 at an Amsterdam shipyard;it uses lee boards rather than a centerboard when sailing. It helped the original owners escape the Nazi occupation. This ship was hidden from the Germans and escaped from Holland with refugee children. It also spirited away hundreds of British soldiers in two trips during the evacuation of Dunkirk during WW II. We had the distinct pleasure of a 3 hour morning cruise on her historical decks armed with nothing more than our knitting needles.

I had the pleasure of sharing our deck space with an able crew assisted by John who aided in hoisting the sails. John wowed the knitters aboard with his sock knitting. Indeed John and I were the only knittters aboard sporting sock projects; his sock is green and white self- striping yarn and you all know the sock I'm still working on.

Marisa's project was Ribby Cardigan which is coming along nicely in a creamy beige and oatmeal colors. Judith G worked on a lovely Noro crocheted sweater she intends to give to her daughter. The yarn is lovely shade of purples and blues. You can see Judith below taking a picture of me taking a picture of her !!!

Witness some of the knitting ideas we saw during our morning cruise. The hat you see below appears to be crocheted with fun yarns and a black wool. The hat seemed to be modeled after some type of Peruvian design with a wrap around scarf. I must say she wore it with unusual panache. Next to her is a pic of another sweater project done in a Merino ribbon that is to die for in the color department.

Lastly, the sock on my foot bids a sad farewell to Wickford Harbor as we return to port after a gloriously beautiful morning at sea! Many returned to the Beadz Go On to shop to their knitting hearts' delight. Check out Judith's blog for more tales at sea.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Lazy Days of Summer

R and I had a great time at Hampton Beach! We stayed at the Ashworth which is aross the street from the ocean.The weather was a ten for all three days. We began our mornings with a brisk walk up and down the ocean boulevard then visited the Sea Ketch restaurant for a high carb breakfast. This was followed by a day at the beach. The water was a bit challenging the first day due to a dangerous riptide, but if we walked down th beach a bit we could go in the water and experience the crashing waves. The water there is so clean and devoid of rocks. Below are some pics of some of the colorful food concessions

The orange storefront boasts some of the best fry doe at the beach. I personally tested the doe and it was all too wonderful!

Wednesday evening we witnessed some spectacular fireworks on the beach. This one pic doesn't do them justice.

Obligatory Knit Content: I did manage to take the sock to the beach and knit the heel flap. (sorry no pic of it riding the wave ). This weekend I look forward to a knitting cruise which sets sail on a Tall Ship Brandaris out of Wickford Harbor.

Daylily Report: Cathy will be happy to know the daylilies were planted before we left and survived our vacation .....

Monday, August 01, 2005

I've Been Tagged

Yesterday, Cathy tagged me. What does that mean? In short it
means answering the questions below and then tagging three
other people. It's all to help us learn about one another.

What was I doing....ten years ago?
I was teaching English at a high school as well as becoming
enchanted with computers and education.I used to connect to
the Internet using Trumpet Winsock;then went on to become
part of a pilot program to train teachers to enhance
curriculum with technology.I also was heavily involved in
learning Tai Chi in daily practice and taking formal
classes on spinning and fiber preparation.
5 years ago?
I was teaching full time, and longing to work part time
so I could devote more time to knitting and spinning.
1 year ago?
I visited Cape Cod, Massachusetts which is one of my favorite
places by the sea.
I had the most wonderful day at Old Home Days. There I met
up with a number of my knit and spin friends at a great
local fair where we demonstrate how to spin on a drop
spindle as well as a wheel. We also teach carding fiber as well.
I spent the morning and afternoon working in my gardens.
I planted some wonderful daylilies in my back garden thanks
to Cathy. I also managed to weed my driveway garden as well.
This garden is filled with hostas, echinacea ,siberian iris,
chive, three kinds of thyme, mountain mint,perennial hibiscus,
mullein, roses, santolina, campanulla, hyssop, russian sage,
hen and chickens,and lambs ears.
I head off for a vacation in New Hampshire.I need to get
away, but with a knitting project for the road.
5 snacks I enjoy
Chocolate,chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.
5 bands and singers for which I know most of their stuff
Led Zeppelin; The Rolling Stones; Eric Clapton; Crosby, Stills
and Young and The Beatles........I know I’m dating myself.
What would I do with $100,000,000?
Pay off all bills, save for retirement and share with
my family.
5 locations I'd run away to:
Scotland,China,Portugal, Italy and Canada
Things I like doing:
Any kind of needlework,spinning,knitting,reading,
watching PBS.
5 TV shows I like:
Are You Being Served, Rumpole of the Bailey, Inspector
Morse,Vicar of Dibley, Barney Miller
5 famous people I'd like to meet:
James Earl Jones, Annie Lenox,Richard Gere,
Stanley Kunitz (Poet), John Irving
5 biggest joys at the moment:

Waking up well each morning,my family, friends,
knitting,and spinning
5 favorite toys:
Computers, spinning wheels, Forester spindle,
digital camera and fibers

Old Home Days

The first pic shows Carol and me participating in the Spinning Bee at Foster Old Home Days. We didn't win, but we had great fun;instead one of the young spinners won. Both Carol and I broke our singles.

The second pic shows Marisa, John and me viewing the knitted and spun entries.

As you can see Carol M in the third pic is having a great time sporting Barbara T's wonderful knitted hat.

Sandy and Paula relax in the last pic while spinning on Saturday.

Below are Marisa's hat, my handspun yarn and John's Hat and scarf......

We had such a great time on Saturday and Sunday spinning and eating such delicacies as dough boys, ice cream and french fries. Many were there to spin and visit...Carol R spun some lovely purple fiber her granddaughter gave her. Sue's granddaughter, son and daughter-in-law came to visit. We had a great time playing with the baby and taking turns holding the bundle of joy!

I even got to announce a 4-H Leadline competition in which my second cousin took a first place!!
What a great weekend thanks to the fine weather. We missed Patty and Judy!! Check out her Lilies.......