Stasia's Place Of Grace


Saturday, April 15, 2006

So Glad I Planted

I really could have chosen a better week to plant the lettuce seeds in the garden. But who was to know we'd have the hailstorm of the century?

It happened at about 10 at night, and it sounded like bricks were raining on the roof. The temperature dropped 20 degrees in as many minutes. The next day, despite a temperature of 64 degrees at 10:30, hailstones still littered the ground. The average size was that of a golf ball (see pic above) but there were many that were softball-sized. Amazing!

To give you an idea of the force with which the hailstones fell, here is some of the damage they did:

Hole Through Metal Gutter

Holes In Heavy Plastic Hose Box

Hole Through Picnic Table

But things have returned to normal. Well, if you could call yesterday's high temperature of 82 degrees normal for April in Wisconsin (not). Life carries on, and these wild bees on the blooming pussywillows don't seem to have a care in the world.

Maybe the seeds will have survived as well. Have a great weekend!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Even More Color

In my last entry I wrote about being inspired by Janel's hat over at Spindlicity. Besides the gorgeous colors (I did end up ordering some fiber from Chameleon Colorworks, and will show it to you when it arrives), what struck me as cool was how Janel got different yarn patterning from a roving. To wit:

Above we have some Wensleydale (does anyone else hear Wallace saying, "Cheeeese, Gromit!" and picture him wiggling his fingers in the air?) from The Fleece Artist.

On the left niddy-noddy is a two-ply yarn spun from roving that was split lengthwise into six strips. This made a "confetti" yarn, in Janel's words.

On the right is a 3-ply yarn spun from roving that was not split into strips, but just pre-drafted to make spinning easier. I Navajo-plied it to maintain separation and distinction of the individual colors.

Speaking of Wensleydale, I had no idea there was a Wallace And Gromit Special. Oh Paaaamela....

Despite spinning for lo these many years, I don't think I've ever tried this particular color trick. I'm anxious to knit a hat inspired by Janel's design to see how the two yarns complement each other, yet retain their individuality.

Above are the two skeins of yarn. What colors! I had just grabbed this out of my stash, but I think there was a bit of subconscious "Easter" on my mind, since the colors are obviously "right" for this weekend.

In case you're interested in the colorway, it's ancient, and I don't think you can get it any more. I believe Jeff brought it home from Rovings on one of his Canadian business trips. Check out this page on their site to see goodies made by one of my favorite spindle makers, Edward Tabachek. His nosties and niddies are awesome.

Spindle Musings: I found that, after not spinning for such a long time, I was more sensitive to certain "inefficiencies" in some of my spindles. One giant plying spindle that I had purchased (but hadn't yet used) proved to be a royal PITA because its hook is so small that it won't accommodate plied yarn. What is up with that? Other spindles, though made of beautiful woods, have whorls so narrow that despite their heavier weight, they backspin almost immediately. (Now, I do know how to spindle spin... most of those videos over at are of me!)

The spindle in the pic worked well but was not suited to the heavier yarn I was spinning - my bad. What ended up working best for me was my old standby Tracy Eichheim production comet, and a Bosworth Maxi for plying (that thing would not stop spinning, which was a joy after all the others I'd been fiddling with).

I forsee some spindle-weeding-out in the future, and despite the fact that I hated the material it was made of, I'm regretting selling my Mongold (especially as they're around $120 on eBay now!)

I also had difficulty using my Lizzie Kate and am definitely going to have to look up some instructions.

I hope to show you some knitting progress with my newly-spun yarn soon - it's drying on the line outside as I write.

Speaking of outside, we continue to have unseasonably warm weather, in the 70s. I was able to get a bit of my garden planted:

In the marked rows, we have: A) Viroflay spinach, B) Butterhead lettuce; C) Sweet Valentine lettuce; D) some kind of red oak leaf lettuc; E-F) mesclun mix; G-H) cilantro/coriander. Most seeds are from Seeds Of Change.

Jeff has been banned from the garden for the year. He always takes over the garden initially, then lets it turn to weeds as he gets too busy with his job. The onions you see in the picture remained in the garden over the winter! He also mangles the soil with a noisy gas garden digger. I believe that disrupts the "ecosystem" in the soil, so I just loosen things gently with my Garden Weasel. Even a weakling like me can use that tool. So we'll see if I do better this year than he has done in the past... just in case, we've resubscribed to our Community Supported Agriculture organic farm co-op. Now that we eat primarily vegetarian Indian and Asian food, using up all those veggies will be nooooo problem!

The arrow in the pic is pointing to my Tibetan prayer flags. Before things greened up around here, it was great to look out the window and see the bright colors flapping in the breeze, sending good energy out into the world.

Bulbs Have Bloomed

In other projects, I found some ribbon to use on a baby sweater I made ages ago when my sister was pregnant the first time:

Maybe I can finish that one up, in addition to seaming the one from my previous entry. I'm currently knitting a third in purple Cashmerino Aran.

I don't think I shared that I recently purchased a marudai from Braider's Hand. Janis was wonderful to work with, and it is lovely!

I'm so jealous - my friend Veryl recently hosted Rodrick Owen at her home when he was in town to teach! I have his book and DVD and once I have a free moment, I'll try my hand at a braid or two.

I purchased the marudai as a meditation tool rather than a fiberarts one... I have no use for braids and will probably give away anything I make (that turns out, that is!) But my friends who are involved in this art form have told me that it is as much a spiritual practice as a creative one, and I'm all for anything that will help me to become more aware and focused. I'm not too good at meditating by just sitting still - I need to at least have a mala in my hands!

I can't remember if I showed you the beaded birth goddess sachet I made for my sister, but here's a pic of it. I finished it just in time to get it to Nathania before Xylia's birth. (Weird names run in our family.) The doll is stuffed with lavender and there is purple felt on the back. So I'll close for today with her vivid colors for you. Have a good holiday weekend! I have to dash - Jeff will be home in five minutes to make his famous Indian coconut rice, and I will not be late for that!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Monday, April 10, 2006

Fun With Color

Lookie what I got!

Three fun colorways of Painted Toes sock yarns - wheeee! It pays to be a member of The Klaudette Krazy List so you hear about these before they hit eBay!

In other news... I actually spun on a spindle today. Alert the media! It's been... how long... over a year? I'm using some lovely Fleece Artist Wensleydale - it's ancient and I don't think they make it anymore, but it's dyed in very muted flowery colors.

I got inspired to spin and knit last night by Janel's new design on Spindlicity. (There's a reminder list for them as well, so you never miss an update. Join here.) Has anyone purchased fiber from Chameloen Colorworks? I may just stick with Rhapsodies...

I love how Janel shows how spinning and plying makes a difference in the appearance of color in a yarn, and how the Rhapsodies pics show how you can knit with two ends of a ball of yarn to make what looks like very complicated colorwork.

It's 60 degrees and sunny here today. The birds are singing. The garden is begging to be planted. Crocuses and daffodils are up and color is everywhere. There just isn't anything like spring! Have a colorful day!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Welcome To Stasia's Blog

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

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