Stasia's Place Of Grace


Friday, October 11, 2002

The Bountiful Harvest

I grew something! These are black eyed peas from my garden. No, not all of them - there are a few more pods, maybe about a cup in all. But I finally grew something in my garden!

I like to make a concoction I call BEPPO - it is Black Eyed Peas, green chile Peppers, and Okra, with rice. I throw it all in a pot and just kind of make it up as I go along, and it tastes great. If memory serves, it is similar to something called Hoppin' John which is served at New Years - I believe it is an African-American tradition from slave times...?

So I will save my single serving of peas until New Years and remember my garden during the cold, snowy months with a hearty meal.

Guess what this is? It is the honey from the hives! You get a sneak preview, before I update our beekeeping website.

This must have been the fastest honey harvest in the history of the world. Jeff washed all the equipment, took apart the hives, cut the cappings off the honey with the electric knife, spun the frames in the extractor, and is now filtering the honey into the storage buckets.

Last time, this process took days, and I had to do a lot of work. I'm grateful, actually, that there wasn't too much to harvest since I couldn't help this year, but I'm also sorry, because this honey is even better than the last batch. It is less lemony, as these bees didn't seem attracted to our lemon balm and bee balm, but far, far sweeter and more delicately floral. Honey actually takes on its flavors from the flowers and trees that the bees visit while collecting their nectar. We don't know where these bees went, but wherever it was, they got some awesome nectar! Aubrey, you won't believe how good it is! I'm envisioning honey lip balm? (Hint, hint!)

We will probably bottle it on Sunday, and we'll see how much we actually get. I'm predicting about 30 bottles (compared to about 175 we got the first year!)

The bees have now figured out that the honey is in the garage and they're all tapping with little bee legs on the back door, trying to get in so they can suck it all up and take it back to the hive! It amazes me how they can figure out, in a couple of hours, where we've taken it. It must smell really good to them.

It smells good to Chester, too. I made the mistake of giving him some wax cappings with honey still in them, and he's been pointing at the garage door ever since, barking at me when I walk by. Maybe I found something new to use as a reward for his clicker training sessions!

The smell of the heated wax and honey is awesome - I just want to sit in the garage and breathe!

As for fiberarts, today I sat outside, a la Kary, and knit on my sister's acrylic scarf. I practiced knitting without looking, and had Ches and Val out there with me on their leashes. Ches watched the chipmunks, and Val sat in a chair next to me, and it was just utterly gorgeous. The sun was shining, a gentle breeze was blowing, the skies were blue, the birds were chirping, the colors of the leaves seemed to brighten as I watched... just an all-around perfect fall day.

I have a hard time sitting still and just being. It is usually really tough for me to knit without listening to a book on tape, or watching a DVD, or at least having someone to talk to. This is not a healthy thing, and it's something I'm working on. It sounds like such a simple thing, but I am so proud of myself for just taking the time to sit and enjoy being outside, alone with the dogs, and knitting without something else going on. I actually enjoyed it and didn't have to force it. I feel like I made major progress in healthful living by doing that today. (I think the Paxil helps!)

Thanks to Elaine, I also ordered some Cottage Creations patterns from ISeeSpots Farm. I got the Rambling Rows afghan and jacket, the Tunic Sweater (I can dream, can't I? It's done in the round, I believe...), and, for my sister, a book of community knitting projects (items, forgiving in size, to be donated to worthy causes). She hasn't been knitting much lately and I think it would do her good as she works as a digital lighting specialist in the motion picture industry (she worked on ANTZ, Forces Of Nature, and Shrek) and it's a stressful occupation (though, I imagine, a lot of fun). In my opinion, everyone should knit - hee hee! I know you guys will agree!

I know I said I wasn't going to update the Blog daily, but this one's for Larry!

You guys have a good Friday night, and thanks for visiting!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Thursday, October 10, 2002

All Good Things...

...must come to an end.

I'm getting close to the end of several projects, due in large part to our phone line being messed up and forcing me to stay off the Internet! There is a lesson in that for me, and I've decided to update this Blog less frequently, as doing it takes away from my journaling, "exercising," and creative time... time that I need to dedicate to myself to get myself healthier.

I think I'll try to do it on Sundays, so please check in once a week if you'd like. I'm sorry not to be able to provide more cheer to others, but I need to balance it with providing cheer to myself from other activities, and it takes me a long time to update this page because of my super-slow Internet connection (we can't get DSL here.)

The Meilenweit Wavy Halloween Sox are finished!

Finished Meilenweit Socks

On each color stripe, I did one row of that color (the second full round of a new color) in a *K6, K2tog, K6, K2 into next st.* on a round of 60 stitches. This made the subtle zig-zags in the stripes. However, it also made the sox somewhat "twisty" in that the heel and toe aren't exactly centered with each other when the sock isn't on my foot. As well, it made for a very snug-fitting sock.

My initial goal had been to do these in a ribbing, but I didn't because the purls would have shown up weird when I changed each color. In doing the top ribbing, I discovered that one can do the color change round all in knit stitches, and do the other rounds in ribbing; the knit round disappears, and you avoid the two-color purl stitches showing through. Wish I'd remembered this earlier! I have another ball of this yarn in another colorway, and will try that pattern on that pair.

I made a pretty significant mistake when I accidentally slid all the stitches off my needle while doing my short-row heel. This resulted in me not putting the correct number back on and there is an obvious hole on one side of the heel (not at the gusset point - thank goodness I've learned to eliminate those!)

So, they're not exactly how I wanted them to be, but I like the colors and they're quite soft and they fit. I learned a lot from them, and for that I'm grateful.

The "Welcome Back, Old Friend" Gray Cable Sweater's sleeves are now sewn in place!

I dislike finishing tremendously, but the sleeves are the worst for me. Once they're in place, everything else is easy, if somewhat boring. But getting those sleeves even, and getting them to measure what they're supposed to - phew! I hate that part! I put it off as long as possibly, until the guilt gets to be too much to withstand.

Gray Sweater's Sleeves Set

I will say this - if I ever do knit another sweater (which isn't bloody likely!) it'll be done in the round, from the top down, and the sleeves will be done along the way. I hate piecing things together! (But this really was a fun sweater to do, even if the neck did take me four tries.)

I'm very glad this part is done and I rewarded myself with some easy K2, P2 knitting on a scarf for my sister.

I'm making very good progress, surprisingly, on the Rainbow Ruana on the Ashford four shaft loom. Three paper bags have fallen off the wound warp, which means I just have one more wrapping it up on the "winder", so there isn't too much more to weave.

I used to hate stick shuttles, but this yarn is really stretchy, and the shed on my loom is quite small, so my large Schacht boat shuttle kept falling through the warp, or getting stuck.

The smaller shuttles can't hold such wide yarn.

So I decided to try the stick shuttles again, and lo and behold, I now love them! I found out they don't cause me problems if I lead with the end that has the yarn through the "eye", and unwrap enough yarn before sending it through. The little things, the easy things, that one learns simply by use...

I do hate warping, almost as much as sweater finishing, but I find again that weaving truly is almost as relaxing to me as knitting. I always think it will be boring, but it never is... just mesmerizing and very "Zen-ish".

The only thing I'm not enjoying is that, weaving at 7 ppi, I'm making fast progress and filling up my weavable shed really quickly, and I feel like I'm constantly getting up to wind the warp forward. I guess there could be worse things to complain about, huh?

Question: If you have a loom, how many inches of fabric can you weave before you have to wind forward?

This isn't a finished project, but a finished wait: the rovings I'd ordered from Sandy Sitzman of Woolgatherings arrived! I'd asked her to try to match the rovings she'd dyed on page 25 of "The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook" because I loved Lynne's socks and wanted to try to duplicate them (fat chance! Lynne's socks are fantastic...)

Well, I think Sandy did a great job with these! They are so neat and clean and soft and not smelly - not at all like my dyeing attempts. I believe Sandy used Bluefaced Leicester, and I think they'll be a dream to spin. The colors are so clear and deep and vivid... really a professional quality job. And she was great to deal with.

Rovings and Page 25 from "The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook"

A sock pattern with spinning guidelines is included in this "Happy Socks Kit", which Sandy offers at her website. She has a special going where if you buy one, you get the second at half price, so I also got this other colorway:

I think this colorway is called "Sunrise".

Our honey harvest will be tomorrow, and that, too, marks the end of a season for the bees. We don't expect to harvest much due to the swarms we had this summer, but there should be a little in there... Jeff is taking a half-day tomorrow to start it, as he's worried about the cold weather coming this weekend. I'll probably spend Sunday bottling the honey he's spun out of the frames.

The migration seems to have started in earnest. The weather man has predicted very cold temperatures for this weekend, and apparently the songbirds were watching his report, because they've come flocking down from the northern forests.

It always amazes me to hear so many songbirds in the spring, and then suddenly have everything subdued as they raise their young. But once again in the fall, they sing - not to find a mate or claim a territory or warn of a predator, but just to say farewell to their summering grounds and the season.

Today, in addition to the geese and cranes I've been seeing, we had masses of robins chirping from the trees. The sound reminded me of the thrill I get when I hear the first one to return for the spring, but in addition to that call they have a different one now... again, it sounds like they are singing purely for the joy of it, giving thanks for the abundance of summer, and calling their friends to come along to warmer climes. Strange how the songs change from one season to the next, yet the birds' voices remain recognizable.

Soon all we'll hear is the chattering of the chickadees and juncos, or the occasional call of a cardinal, as the snows begin to fall.

The trees are changing in earnest now. It isn't visible on gray, rainy days - but let the sun come out, and suddenly there is color everywhere!

I hope good things are coming to abundant ends for you now as well!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Monday, October 07, 2002

Things That Make Me Smile

Tori likes to sit in Jeff's lap for Monday night football, wearing her Packers scarf. She usually falls asleep by the second half.

Tori cheers on the Packers.

It's been very rainy here lately, followed by periods of intense sunshine and magnificent sunsets. Today as the sun went down, it turned all the trees bronze - even the pine trees and the ones whose leaves haven't yet changed. It is as if it was trying to paint them all with its energy to help the colors turn. Wherever the sun shone as its rays slanted sideways across the Earth, it seemed like it was in Technicolor, and the areas not in the shafts of light seemed to be in black and white by comparison. I wish I could have photographed it for you but there's no way I could have captured it, so you'll have to use your imagination!

Anyway, all that rain has brought about an abundance of strange mushrooms in the yard. Here is an example of one type:

Large white toadstool in yard. It is as big as the ball of my foot.

My new Gin Brown charms arrived today! I have had a charm bracelet since my 13th birthday. On it are charms from trips I have taken, events I've participated in, or those that symbolize circumstances I've overcome. It always makes me smile to look over the charms and be reminded of the important events of my life.

My first bracelet got so full that Jeff bought me a new one for my birthday a couple of years ago.

My charm bracelets.

Well, Gin Brown is this great jeweler who makes, among other items, spinning and weaving charms. Here are my latest ones from her - a spindle (to represent creating the Spindlers Yahoo! Group) and a weaving shuttle (to commemorate learning to weave). They are on the left in this photo.

Closeup of new Gin Brown charms.

Gin also makes Celtic and Southwestern jewelry and fiberarts charms such as knitting on teeny needles, fiber animals, different types of weaving shuttles and a weaver's knot, two different spinning wheels, etc. All are very intricate, and they're available in gold or sterling... they silver ones are quite reasonable.

Gin Brown can be reached at 310-391-4043. Her address is 2449 Barry Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90064. Her ads appear in the back pages of Spin-Off. Tell her Stasia sent you!

Today, not only did a pair of Canada geese fly overhead, but a Sandhill Crane circled above for quite some time, it's "clackety-hoo" call carrying clearly on the clean, cool air. How's that for alliteration?

The climbing Peace roses are almost blooming and if we can avoid a hard frost they just might make it! I can't believe they are taking so long to open! It will be the first time they've ever bloomed, so I do hope they do it in time!

I am too foggy to actually do any fiberarts work, so I just rearranged my wool room. (Well, Jeff rearranged, and I supervised!) I have my weaving section, my spinning section, my spindle-making section, and my treadmill all lined up in a row, all clean, the carpet vacuumed, nothing to distract me from exercising or doing my creative work. I think that by tomorrow I ought to feel a little better, so hopefully I'll get back to working on the rainbow ruana.

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow. Yuk! I will have to get a treat afterwards - the Godiva stand at the mall is within walking distance (even for me!) of my dentist's office, and it's time for pumpkin truffles!

Have a marvelous day!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Welcome To Stasia's Blog

Stasia is a knitter, spinner, weaver, writer, reader, and musician from Wisconsin, USA.

Join her here as she journals about beauty in nature, the joys of fibery pursuits, special people and pets, and great places to shop. It's her hope you'll leave spiritually inspired and creatively motivated. Thanks for visiting!

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