Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hand-painted roving

Yesterday I dyed some roving. Roving is fiber processed into a form that's ready to spin. I had 7.8 ounces of superwash Bluefaced Leicester which I divided into two 3.9 ounce sections.

Here I am laying out the roving on my outdoor work surface:

I have a very affectionate helper:

Here are the dyes I used. They are weak acid dyes, set with vinegar:

Placing the dye on the roving:

More placing of dye. It was a hot, humid day, so I was going for cool, melon colors:

Another helper strolling out of the garden:

Another helper, waiting for someone to throw the ball:

After the dye was squirted on, I wrapped the rovings up in plastic wrap and microwaved them for 4 minutes to set the dye.

Here they are after being rinsed and hung to dry:

Here they are dry and waiting to be braided up. I think I'll call this mix of colors 'melon patch':

Now I have to go - I'm off to the farmer's market to spend some money!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our new rose is blooming!

We have a few rose bushes in the front yard. My son added a new one this year that he saw in a catalogue and liked. It's a Dick Clark grandiflora. We got it as bare-root stock, so it took a while for it to wake up out of dormancy. Two buds were just about to bloom about a week ago or so, but just before they opened, some deer came along and nipped every bud and bloom off of the roses. That was frustrating, we were anxious to finally see the flowers.

Well, the Dick Clark quickly put out another two buds, and they've bloomed! The blossoms are beautiful and have a mildly spicy scent (click on any of the pictures to see them larger, then hit back arrow to return to blog):

It's so pretty!

Our Princess de Monaco has one bloom right now. It's also lovely:

At the garden center earlier in the season, I found these delightful petunias. I lost the little tag, so I don't know the variety, but I love the colors:

Here they are cascading out of a planter:

What are some of your favorites from the garden this year?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

All I can say is, if you go, don't forget the tissues.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Night sky timelapse over the ocean

This an amazing timelapse:

<a href='' target='_new' title='Ocean Sky Timelapse'>Video: Ocean Sky Timelapse</a>

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Far Away Garden

Here are a few pictures of my far away garden. It really only takes a few minutes to walk to my plot in the community gardens, but since it's not one of the gardens in my yard, I call it the Far Away Garden. Strider likes to come with me when it's not too hot:

This is my plot, such as it is. It needs another good weeding. The lush plants to the upper left, alas, are not mine:

In my plot I have sunflowers, corn, tomatoes, peppers, okra, beets, marigolds, and a handful of cosmos flowers. I also have beans, peas, squash, and watermelon planted among the sunflowers and corn. I'm sorry to report that it looks like the squash vine borer has already begun to decimate my squash plants.

Here are some tomatoes beginning to show on one of the plants. The tomatoes I have here are heirloom varieties left-over from the veg. garden in my back yard. They stayed a little too long in their starter pots and are a bit stunted compared to the ones in my yard. I started them from seed:

Beets. What a lovely color:

Okra, I believe this is a variety called Silver Queen:

One of my three cosmos flowers:

A neighboring gardener in the community plots last year gave me some of the seed heads from the flowers in her garden. I planted two rows, but only three plants came up (actually, I think four came up, but I accidentally pulled one while weeding).

Those lush tomatoes in the neighboring garden are always the talk of the community plots. They are all heirloom varieties, and there are many varieties present. The reason they are so lush is because they are planted with Tomato-tone, an organic kind of fertilizer:

Only organic practices are allowed in the community plots. I added compost to my garden before planting, but I have come to realize how important manure is, too. I neglected to blend it in this year, and I can see the difference. I won't forget it next year.

There is one particular wild apple tree in the park in which the community plots are located. It always has the richest, reddest-looking apples of all. They're already beginning to ripen:

At least I think it's a wild apple. It may have been part of the farmhouse garden of the old farm that used to be on this land. In any case, it's wild now. The fruit is too buggy to eat, but it's always tempting because it's usually a gorgeous color.

I'll show more pics when things are bigger and beginning to produce.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Spinning Yak

I recently got a hold of some yak down. It's the fluffy undercoat that keeps the yak warm. It's incredibly soft. I have 4 oz. which I carded up yesterday and made into rolags, ready for spinning (you can click on any of the pictures to make them bigger):

Here it is on the wheel. Did I mention that it's really soft?:

I've been spinning it woolen style. I want to ply it into at least a three ply, I think.

The single is pretty thin, but I want it to be at least a sport weight yarn. Worsted weight would be better, but it's hard for me to spin things thick enough for worsted weight anymore. Everything seems to come out thin, it's easier than spinning thick, it seems.

Although I did recently spin up some colorful polwarth rovings into worsted weight, 2-ply yarn. I love polwarth, it's cushy and soft. The two on the right are Navajo plied, the one on the left is just plied the regular way:

I have to say that I really like the yak. I have 10 grams of musk ox which cost me about $25 (yes, that's 10 GRAMS for ~ $25). The yak is very much like the musk ox and it's so much more affordable. I haven't done anything with the musk ox yet. And if you think yak is soft, you haven't felt soft until you touch the musk ox. It's also touted to be the warmest fiber in the world. Yak, I think, will make an affordable substitution for musk ox.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

UPDATE: My book is no longer 50% off - now it's FREE for the month of July!

My book, Rose of Par Kluhnd: A Fairy Tale, is now FREE for the month of July, only at Smaswords! Use the code SSWSF at checkout to get this ebook for FREE. Here's the link: Rose of Par Kluhnd sale.

Smashwords only sells ebooks. If you want the paperback, you'll have to go to Amazon, which is not having a sale, sorry to say.

Spinning flax

I've just begun my first attempt at spinning flax. I ordered 4 oz. of Glimakra soft, hackled flax from Paradise Fibers and it arrived today (along with some yak down, baby camel, baby alpaca, and polwarth roving).

Here's what I've spun thus far (click on any of the pictures to see them larger):

I wish I had a distaff, then maybe the flax wouldn't turn into such a riotous mess in my lap as I'm spinning:

Well, anyhoo, I hope I have the hang of it by the time I reach the end of my 4 oz. I'd love to grow my own and do all of the retting, breaking, scutching and hackling to prepare it for spinning. It sounds like a lot of work, but I think it'd be fun.

If I ever get a loom, I'd love to weave the spun flax into linen cloth.

Rose of Par Kluhnd is on sale at Smashwords!

My book, Rose of Par Kluhnd: A Fairy Tale, is 50% off all this month at Smaswords! Use the code SSW50 at checkout to get it for 50% off. Here's the link: Rose of Par Kluhnd sale.

Smashwords only sells ebooks. If you want the paperback, you'll have to go to Amazon, which is not having a sale, sorry to say.