August 07, 2014

In the Tunnel

I feel like I can't get anything finished.  I'm in the tunnel and not close enough to see evens a smidge of light.  I am flat out frustrated. I have two sweaters, a pair of socks, a shawl, two blankets, and who knows what else hiding in the closet on a pair of needles right now and nothing seems to be getting to that point where I can see the possibility of a final cast off.   I'm beginning to think that someone is ripping back my work every night.  The projects are progressing just that slowly.

Sweater test knit for Knit Picks 2014 Spring collection

Jekyll & Hyde socks in Cedar Hill Farm Co. Pop Star

It's probably because I have literally lived in my kitchen since the middle of May.  Every day I am putting up one, two, or five different vegetables.  All 75 tomato plants are in full swing right now and I am lugging about 50 lbs. a day of tomatoes into the kitchen to be cored, chopped, smashed, boiled, sieved, and simmered into tomato sauce and tomato soup and tomato juice.  I don't even really like tomatoes, to be honest, so I hope the hubby will be thrilled to death with all of this tomato soup, okra and tomatoes, and tomato juice once winter rolls around.  I thought I was sick of green beans when I hit the 83rd quart mark.  These tomatoes have green beans beaten, hands down!

It's also hot pepper time, so some of those are drying to be ground down for the instant death pepper flake combo that Honey likes and some are getting pickled and some are turning into hot pepper jelly.  I don't know what the environmental factor was this year, but the jalepenos have suddenly become so hot that the exude enough capsaicin to light my hands on fire when I pick them! Those cute little bell peppers are Cajun Bell peppers, and they are muy picante, let me tell you!  There are also some poblanos and cayenne peppers in there for fun.

I did have one neat little excursion today, speaking of canning things.  I went with some neighbors to the cannery in Eastanolle, Georgia to can some tomato juice.  In this self-serve cannery, we quartered, boiled down, and sieved tomatoes (with the coolest machine I have ever seen!).  Then we put the resulting tomato juice into 123 short-quart cans (24 oz), ran them through the steamer, put them through the lid machine, and stacked them into the massive steel basket for the conveyor crane to pick up and deposit in the water bath.  It took all morning because we had to wait for the employees to repair a mechanical function with the lid sealer, but it was a fun experience and I am sure that I will be back up there in about a week to can peas.  I am seriously considering making up a gazillion quarts of vegetable soup and taking it up there to can, but we'll just see how things play out.

And that's where I am.  Knitting in circles and slaving away in the kitchen and the garden.  I can't wait until we till the garden under next week and I can start again with the root veggies for fall.  At least then I'm guaranteed a solid 6 weeks of serious knitting time.

July 23, 2014

A perfect pair!

It was a rough start after the whole Mr. Pitt sock drama of the Spring months, and I ripped out about 3 sock patterns before I found the one that this Lorna's Laces in Edgewater wanted to be.  It turned out, the pattern for Sarah Wilson's Jekyll & Hyde Socks was the one this yarn was waiting to become. Coincidentally, these socks have been on my Ravelry queue for AGES.

It went smoothly.  So smoothly that this may be the very first pair EVER to be knit without either sock having a single mistake.  EVER.  I don't know if that makes them lucky socks or cursed socks.  I guess we will find out about November when the temperatures dip low enough to actually wear socks around the farm. It feels fantastic to have knit up a pattern that has been roosting in the back of my mind for so long, too.

There was one con to this pattern--and granted, I stopped following said pattern instructions when I reached the heel because I like my heels like I like my heels, and the same goes for the toes--and it was simply that I had done sooooooo many right twist stitches over the course of two socks that when it came time to decrease for the toes (and my heart did a little skip of excitement like it always does when I start the toe decreases!), I stopped at every K2tog and had the impulse to pick out the stitch and do a right twist, thinking "no, that's not right".

There was also the weird result in the patterning of these socks.  I was super careful to start the cast on in the same place in the colorway, and although it looks like I may have had one that was actually about 3 stitches different in the cast on stitch color pattern from the other, look how dramatically different the socks turned out!  Definitely one is Jekyll and one is Hyde.

You know what else is pretty cool about today?  I dyed yarn and it is a myriad of breathtaking colors! Tomorrow there will be new colorways of Eco, Gypsy, and Rocket Sock in the Etsy shop. And for those of you who have been pining for more of the Gypsy Grapevine, well there will be a bit more to love in the shop tomorrow.  See?

P.S. Blogger is at it again with changing the purples in my photos so the purple is really more of a "purple grape" than a "pink" in real life.  You'll see in the Etsy shop listing.

July 01, 2014

And so it begins ...

I can't possibly let the opportunity pass to show you the new arrivals to the farm that officially mark the beginning of my fiber farm dream.  Here they are, 3 fat little lambs who have been carefully bred to produce fleeces that are among the most amazing you will ever see!

This is Stanley.  He is not quite 3 months old and tips the scale at well over 60 lbs. He's still holding a grudge over being moved to the farm but he'll come around. Stanley is the ram (a twin) that will be the foundation of the flock. He is a Teeswater / Cormo cross, which means that he is sporting a thick fleece of silk ringlets.  Even dirty from his former pen in North Carolina, up close his fleece will make a spinner drool!


These lovely ladies are Stella and Blanche. They are twin, almost 4 month-old, ewes who I have high hopes for next year. They are Corriedale / Finn crosses that have been bred to produce a very fine, luxuriously soft and thick fleece. They also tip the scales at over 60 lbs., though (piggy) Blanche is a bit taller and wider than Stella.


Chester is our newest addition ( I say that, but all 4 of these animals arrived within a 5-day span of time). A beautiful Ethiopian donkey, Chester is going to be on coyote and neighborhood dog patrol.  He's like a body builder among donkeys, and though he likes to snuggle, to be petted continuously, and to be pampered with apples and molasses, if I were the size of a dog, I would not want to make him look at me twice. He was abandoned and left to fend for himself in a pasture and the pasture owner needed him to go to a good home. Ours. (Free is good!)


He spent most of the day on Saturday in donkey time out because he repeatedly tried to stomp the sheep. We ended up working from 7 am until 4 pm on Saturday, mainly just the husband and I until about the last hour, setting fence posts and running wire so Mr. Bad Attitude could have his own paddock. The people are exhausted. He hung out in the shade all day and was rarin' to go. We moved him into his new digs and he still has attitude. Isn't that just like a man for you?


And Rocket got herself a horse. This is Rusty. He kicked me in the knee right out of the trailer on the first day. My hoof-shaped bruise is very ugly and my knee still hurts to bend it. He is a primadonna. We are not friends.


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