Posted by: Mare F | November 12, 2018

Gardens, craft fairs, and general holiday mayhem

It’s that time of year again when there seems to be more to do than time to do it in. My last craft fair of the year (that I know of currently) is this coming Saturday, my garden beds are a mess, and Thanksgiving is a mere 9 days away. Where to start? First up we have heavy rain coming in overnight as well as Friday and because this craft fair is at work, I try to bring my stuff in over a couple of days and leave it in my workroom. That makes Saturday  morning easier and I don’t clog up the parking lot loading and unloading. Now, with this forecast, I’ll be packing the car with the first load this afternoon instead of digging out the other two trees from the scary garden.

 

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The scary garden, I noticed yesterday, had 4 trees growing in it. It started out as the horseradish, raspberry, milkweed butterfly garden, but apparently I’ve neglected it long enough that the trees are 4′ tall. I dug two out yesterday, but what a pain! I also had 6′ goldenrod growing in it. I should have taken pictures of that! It was very pretty if a bit overwhelming. This is to be my garlic, parsnip, horseradish, raspberry, and milkweed garden. We shall see how that goes.

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Then we have the bed socks…..I started them 2 weeks ago, they are made with worsted weight yarn on size 8 needles, but I’ve just about finished the heel and they are being picked up on Saturday.

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So,  how do you sort out your “free” time and choose which chores get done when? I can’t be the only one who could use a few more hours in their day….although I suspect that those would fill right up with the other things I want to do.

Posted by: Mare F | November 8, 2018

Thursday chat

What project, that you consider difficult, do you have on your life list? You know, the item that you see at the wool festival, in the yarn shop, on someone in the market, that makes your heart go pitty-pat. The project that you know will take concentration, learning, and perseverance? My goal is to make myself a Shetland lace stole. I don’t think that I have the intestinal fortitude to do either a square or round shawl, but I’m willing to give a stole my best shot. This book is on my wish list.

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I suspect that I shall find some lovely things in here and hopefully the confidence to step off of the dock into the deep end of the pond. So, what project makes you smile and sweat all at the same time?

Posted by: Mare F | November 5, 2018

School play

One of the perks of my job as an A/V Tech at a middle/high school is the student body. The children make me laugh, want to tear my hair out, and hug them all at the same time. It’s rather like having a few hundred grandchildren who go home every day. Okay, maybe not quite like that, but you get the feeling.  Due to recent budget cuts I am also spending a good deal of time on the circulation desk in the library. In fact, I work by myself on Fridays so I decided to add some fun to the end of the week once or twice a month. Occasionally we’ve added the odd day in, but since they are non-stop action, I try to limit it to two. Last June, I set up a hyperbolic coral reef in our display case and some of our students made paper plate jelly fish with ribbons and googly eyes. They were just too much fun.

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Last month, while celebrating R. L. Stine’s birthday, the students made either a monster or a ghost house out of mystery bags. Mystery Bags are brown lunch bags with pipe cleaners, coffee filters, cups, craft sticks, tubes, pompoms, etc in them. Below is one of the many monsters which appeared that day.

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And last Friday we had the option of making hand turkeys out of construction paper or leaf wreaths. A good time was had by all, but I will be cutting out leaves (in preparation for the future) for some time to come.

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While these are all very simple crafts, the students truly seem to enjoy making them and they have needed very little direction. The creativity and energy that comes bouncing out of them is contagious and invigorating. They have created a pond from blue fleece, fish from pompoms,  and water lilies from tissue paper and felt. This is seriously one of the best perks around. It’s a wonderful thing when work is fun!

Posted by: Mare F | November 1, 2018

Thursday chat

I found this book at my local library when I met a friend for knitting last week and I’m going to buy a copy of it for home. There are so many cool patterns in here that I’m a little sad that I used up  my bulky stash. Guess I’ll just have to go shopping. Seriously, if you get a chance to check out Highland Knits , published by Interweave, do so, it looks to be a good deal of fun.

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Posted by: Mare F | October 29, 2018

Bed socks….for or against?

I admit that making bed socks started as a way to use up some of my worsted stash and possibly to make a few people happier in the dead of winter with warm feet at night, however, last night it became personal. When I woke up 2 1/2 hours after turning out my light with feet that had not yet warmed up I decided it was time to make myself a pair. Now I could have gone downstairs and filled the hot water bottle, oh, why didn’t I think of that earlier, but then I would have been wide awake and that would have defeated (really, no pun intended) the purpose. I just wanted warm feet.

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So, now I have to finish a pair that is on the needles (an order for Christmas) and decide which yarn will be my favorite item until April. Do you use bed socks?

Posted by: Mare F | October 25, 2018

Thursday chat

On a non-fiber, but definitely comfort-related, topic I would like to ask a question. Do you “put up” jams, butters, jellies, etc? This time of year tends to make me start nesting in anticipation of the snowy days that are common throughout New England. While I haven’t managed to sort out a solid schedule there have been a few years of dilled green beans & carrots, apple butter, apple cranberry butter (cranberries in the freezer from the previous year,) and apple pie filling.

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In my mind it all comes together to make the house cozier for the winter months and gives me, at the very least, a yummy dessert to look forward to enjoying as the wind howls about the house. I suppose that fiber and food are two of my comfort zones and I deeply appreciate both! I do hope one day to do it all in a more organized manner, but for now the odd weekend of canning is good for me.

Posted by: Mare F | October 23, 2018

Rhinebeck on an October day…

It was overcast and slightly damp when we set out on Saturday morning for the New York Sheep & Wool Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, NY. The temperature was about 45F and just perfect in my estimation. Lindsey and Sharon, the two delightful women I was traveling with agreed. It had gotten rather warm last year and it didn’t really inspire one to purchase fiber in any form.

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We saw a few rather sassy animals. This love gave me a lovely pose after I commented on the handsomeness involved and the others batted their eyes a bit too. I actually thought to go into the auction before everything was gone and saw a very nice old double squirrel cage swift. I left immediately. It was charming, but I’m almost out of room. No bidding here although I will probably regret it.

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I managed to get home with only 2 hanks of yarn (alpaca/merino blend), a felted flower kit to use with the students, some beads, a shawl pin in the shape of a dagger, a spinning wheel threader to replace the one that Hobo has hidden on me, and a wonderful sense of relaxation and contentment. This was a brilliant, and sometimes sunny, trip that turned into a fabulous weekend. So glad that I know the people who I do know. Have you been to a fiber festival?

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Posted by: Mare F | October 18, 2018

Thursday chat

Rhinebeck, NY! This coming weekend is the New York Sheep & Wool Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds and it’s become a lovely tradition to go with good friends to spend a day surrounded by yarn, fiber, animals, food, fiber tools, and fresh air. It’s also a place to see beautiful shawls, scarves, and sweaters paired with jeans and muck boots. There is fair food aplenty, a fleece sale, shearing demonstrations, and book signings. I haven’t yet made up my wish list…I really don’t need anything, but, well, it’s a wool festival! Have you attended a wool festival or a fiber show of any sort? If you have done, did you stick to your shopping list?

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Posted by: Mare F | October 15, 2018

Project resource reallocation…

is a polite way of saying that I’ve spent the better part of the weekend unraveling an astonishing amount of projects which I was not going to finish for one reason or another. Now, the sad thing is that these projects have been tucked away in the studio, each in their own little bag with directions (mostly) and tools….for just how long I’m not quite certain. A couple of the projects I couldn’t begin to remember why I’d even started them although that may be a memory rather than a project issue.

 

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This is the first round of bags to be emptied. It was rather nice to find some lovely yarns and reasonable amounts of them. A few of the projects were doubled up which almost always indicates a speedy tidy up for company coming in the door. I’ve moved them on to clear plastic totes – so glad that the organizing bug hit me earlier this year so that I had plenty on hand.

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Here are a few of them, sorry for the lighting, it was too brisk to open the blinds this morning when they were still out in the open, and my mind is already whirling with new plans for the fibers. So, how do you decide when to give up on a project, if you do, and what is the oldest project you have going right now?

Posted by: Mare F | October 11, 2018

Thursday Chat

Do you work on patterns on your tablets or computer? I guess what I’m asking is if you make projects from digital patterns or sources?  If so, do you enjoy working that way?

I admit that I am a paper pattern die-hard, but if the pattern is simple enough, such as the hot water bottle cover from Knitpicks, I will refresh my memory on my tablet, but I haven’t been bold enough to use any of the patterns from the few ebooks that I’ve purchased. I think that the best candidate will be Crochet One Skein Wonders edited by Judith Durant and Edie Eckman. There are so many patterns in this book I want to try and I got a very good deal on it on Amazon last May.

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So, if you have any hints or stories about working on your epatterns I would love to hear about them. Maybe I just need to drag myself into the 21st century.

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