Hello, Friday...

...how'd you get here so fast? Not that I'm complaining, but the week usually only flies by like this when I'm on vacation! That's what happens when I have a lot of work.

Today's eye candy comes from our garden and our neighbor's front yard. First, some Green Rellano chile peppers:

Green relleno chile peppers

Next, the edge of a pineapple tomatillo flower and stem:

On the edge

The center of a Sempervivum succulent in the backyard:

Into the Sempervivum

And, from our neighbor's front yard, fountain grass:

Fountain Grass in the morning

Fountain Grass

I like the fountain grass because it looks so soft and wispy.

Up this weekend: Maybe I'll warp the loom, or knit, or quilt, or...
.

WIP-ed Wednesday...

...after all of that spinning for Tour de Fleece and finishing the quilt, I'm finding it hard to transition back into knitting and needlepoint.

I have a few things in progress that I have barely (or haven't) touched this month:
  1. Seaweed Cardigan [Ravelry] - the back piece is done and I'm working on the front pieces, two at a time. I've managed to knit a couple of rows, but that's it.
  2. The Beets Go On socks [Ravelry] - I frogged these and restarted them I only have about 3 rows knitted on the new cuffs.
  3. Tealing Groovy quilt [Flickr] - It's sandwiched and ready to machine quilt. That's as far as I've gotten.
  4. Turquoise Trail needlepoint [Flickr] - Haven't touched it all month. There just hasn't been time!
  5. Isonzo 8oz., spinning [Ravelry] - I started spinning this fiber at June's Spin-In. Haven't touched it since then.
So last night when I had time to work on something, what did I do? I couldn't decide what to work on, so I played Zuma Blitz! Really productive evening....LOL!

One thing I haven't posted about, mostly because I'm a little underwhelmed by it, is the new installment of the Rockin' Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. (Real picture behind the spoiler.)

BMFA: We Will SOCK You

I'm not fond of the colorway and only one of the patterns appeals to me. This seems to be the way the club is working for me this year: either the colors aren't me or the patterns aren't appealing to me. I don't think there's one package so far this year that I've liked both the yarn and the patterns. That's the way it goes sometimes...
.

Tour de Fleece, c'est fini...

...et moi aussi! My hands and shoulders are a bit sore, but I finished!

Here is the Silver Lake handspun that I plied yesterday, :

Silver Lake handspun

and the close-up:

Silver Lake handspun, close up


Specs:
Started 7/19/11
Finished 7/24/11
Silver Lake Zen top (50% Merino, 25% Tussah silk, 25% Bamboo; 4oz) from Lisa Souza
269.8 yds, 12 WPI

Here's a collage of the handspun I finished for this year's tour:

Tour de Fleece 2011

Overall Tour de Fleece stats:
  • 24.1 ounces spun
  • 5 chain-ply, 1 2-ply (the pink)
  • 1324.1 yds total
  • WPI are 10, 11, 12 (2), 13, & 14
  • We visited  a lagoon, a meadow, a redwood, a forest, an island, and a lake. 
After finishing the last yarn, I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself! Between Tour de Fleece and finishing the last quilt, it's been a busy month.  It must be time to start another pair of socks, or weave something, or...  Anyway, something other than spinning for a while!
.

    Tour de Fleece, days 19, 20, & 21 + Eye Candy Friday...

    ...it's been a long, but productive week. I'll do Tour de Fleece first, and then Eye Candy.

    Tour de Fleece days 19, 20 & 21: I had very little time to spin over the last 3 days. I managed to spin Silver Lake for an hour on Tuesday, 45 minutes on Wednesday, and about 30 minutes last night. The why of it follows with some sort-of Eye Candy..

    The commissioned quilt I've been working on for so long hit the home stretch on Tuesday, I sewed the label on and did some final thread snipping. On Wednesday, I pressed it, took a lint brush to it, and wrapped it for delivery.

    The quilt is the retirement gift we gave to our boss and friend last night at a dinner in her honor. Yes, another stealth project. Here are the preliminary pictures we took last night. I am going to arrange to borrow the quilt for a "real" photo session as soon as I can. Anyway, here's the front:

    Rhapsody in Blue and Purple quilt


    This is a rail fence quilt, with a narrow white-on-white border, and a wider blue border. Her is the back that was such a challenge:

    Rhapsody in Blue and Purple quilt, the back

    The challenge was the 62 signature strips that make up the white border on the back. I'm sorry you can't see them in these pictures, but believe me they are there! The biggest challenge was aligning the front and the back so they were straight and then not quilting through the signatures when I couldn't see where they were. So there are some non-traditional stops and starts on the quilting, but the signatures have been preserved!

    She loved the quilt and the colors, so it was a perfect gift!

    Because it wouldn't be an Eye Candy Friday without a garden picture, here's a dahlia that's growing in our backyard:

    Dahlia


    There are more eye candy pictures in my Flickr stream.

    Up this weekend: Sleep? That would be nice. Also, for the final days of Tour de Fleece, I'd like to finish Silver Lake. I don't know if I'll make it, but I'll give it a good try! After that, who knows!
    .

    Tour de Fleece, days 17 & 18...

    ...heading towards the end.

    Day 17: This was a rest day and boy, did I need it. I spent the time designing the quilt label for my commissioned quilt and then printing it.

    Day 18: I started spinning Silver Lake, a Zen top from Lisa Souza:

    Silver Lake, in process


    It weighs 4 ounces and is 50% Merino, 25% Tussah silk, and 25% Bamboo. I only spent an hour on it because I needed to sew the label on the quilt. In looking at the picture, I need unwind the last yard or so of the single and re-do it. It's thicker than I want and too energized. That's tonight's task!

    I had a 7:30am appointment for my car this morning, which meant skipping the gym and getting to work an hour earlier than normal. It's gonna be a long day!
    .

    Tour de Fleece, days 14, 15, & 16...

    ...my hands and shoulders are sore. It's a good thing that today is a rest day!

    Day 14: I finished hand-sewing the quilt binding (yay!), but it didn't leave me much time for spinning. I did manage to finish the singles for Forest Afternoon and then crashed on the couch.

    One thing that brightened my day was the arrival of my Pro-Verbial Fiber club installment. I'm not much of a pink person, but the combination of fibers and pattern are really intriguing.

    Pro-Verbial Spoiler pic

    Day 15: Originally, I had planned on plying Forest Afternoon, but a Hanks in the Hood batt (Bainbridge Island) was calling my name. I decided to spin it bulky and ply both yarns on Sunday, About an hour into spinning Bainbridge Island, I decided it was a good thing that I was spinning bulky--it would have taken me forever to spin it thin as I was fighting the fibers all the way. I spun the fiber on to two bobbins so I do a 2-ply.

    Day 16: After my grocery run a and couple of chores, I put the plying head on the wheel and started chain-plying Forest Afternoon. I love how it turned out:

    Forest Afternoon handspun

    and the close-up:

    Forest Afternoon handspun, close-up

    Specs:
    Started 7/10/11
    Finished 7/17/11
    Merino-Bamboo-Silk (4 oz) from Miss Babss
    238.2 yds, chain-ply, 14 WPI

    Then I plied Bainbridge Island. Again, I was happy that I chose a 2-ply for this fiber. It's a little energized, but not too much:

    Bainbridge Island handspun

    and the close-up:

    Bainbridge Island handspun, close-up

    Specs:
    Started 7/16/11
    Finished 7/17/11
    Bainbridge Island, 75% merino, 25% bamboo with sparkle by Hanks in the Hood from KnitPicks
    135.8 yds 2-ply, 10 WPI

    Tour de Fleece accomplishments so far:
    • 20.1 ounces spun
    • 4 chain-ply, 1 2-ply
    • 1054.3 yds total
    • WPI are 10, 11, 12, 13, & 14 (how I did that I have no idea!)
    • We have visited  a lagoon, a meadow, a redwood, a forest, and an island. It's been a good trip so far!
    .

    Eye Candy Friday and Tour de Fleece...

    ...I had a good day yesterday. I ran one errand and then enjoyed a nice Starbucks latte with my breakfast.

    I dove right into the quilt and got about half of the binding hand sewn before my fingertips gave out. At least I didn't prick myself this time!

    Tour de Fleece, Day 12 and 13: I managed to spin for an hour on Wednesday night. Yesterday, I had hoped to finish the Forest Afternoon singles, but after hand sewing on the quilt, my hands could only take so much. I have spun about 3 of the 4 oz. in the bump. Here's what it looks like now:

    Forest Afternoon as of 7/15

    I think I can finish the singles today. However the highest priority is the quilt, so keep your fingers crossed!

    For today's Eye Candy Friday, we have an eggplant blossom:

    Eggplant Blossom

    ...a ripening strawberry:

    Ripening strawberry

    ...and Asiatic lilies. They finally bloomed!

    Asiatic Lily with pollen

    Light play on an Asiatic lily

    I first took pictures of these as spiky-leaved plants when we didn't know what they were. Now they are just gorgeous. I took so many pictures of these! I uploaded a couple more in Flickr, so take a look there if you want to see more.

    Up this weekend: Design and print a label for the quilt.

    The Husband comes home this weekend after his trip to Washington state. I'm glad he'll be home...I do miss him just a bit. :-) But I can't lie, it's been nice having some time to myself.

    When I'm not running errands or doing a few chores, iI will be spinning for Tour de Fleece. (No I'm not tires of it yet!)
    .

    Tour de Fleece, day 11...

    ...and day 10 as well.

    Day 10: I did not spin on Monday, as planned, but I did manage to knit a couple of rows on my sadly neglected sweater.

    Day 11: Last night I managed to get another hour of spinning on the next handspun. This is Forest Afternoon, a Merino-Bamboo-Silk top from Miss Babs:

    Forest Afternoon handspun, in progress

    This represents about 2 hours of spinning. Like all of the Miss Babs fiber that I've spun, it's spinning like a dream! Tonight I'll spin a bit more, but I raelly won't make any significant progress until tomorrow.

    I'm taking the next two days as what I used to call "Mental and Nervous" days...back when I worked for Aetna claims in another lifetime. My plan is to finish the commissioned quilt and then just spin my life away!

    I can't wait!
    .

    Tour de Fleece, day 9...

    ...I finished another yarn. Yay!

    Here is Armstrong Woods Redwood:

    Armstrong Woods Redwood handspun

    and the close-up:

    Armstrong Woods Redwood handspun, close-up

    Specs:
    Started 7/6/11
    Finished 7/10/11
    Merino-Tencel (4 oz) from Royale Hare
    Spun and plied on Lendrum DT folding wheel
    Yield: 269.8 yds chain-ply, 13 WPI

    This yarn is has a few segments that are energized, but for the most part it's pretty balanced. I consciously slowed down when I was plying, which made the plying process take longer but resulted in a much better yarn.  The colors remind me more of watermelon than redwoods, though.

    I started spinning a new one during the East Coast feed of True Blood. I can't watch TV and work on the quilt (at least at this stage), so I continued to spin until my show was over.

    After dinner, I finished taking care of all the loose threads on the quilt back. Next, is hand-sewing the binding. I'm getting closer to the end of the quilt. I rally do like the way it looks!

    Today is a rest day for Tour de France and Tour de Fleece. Usually, I spin during rest days, but this time I think I'll rest my hands!

    I haven't officially heard from the Husband about his Seattle-to-Portland ride, but my niece posted a few pictures. He looks like he's in one piece (LOL!) after completing his 19th STP. I suspect he'll call tonight.
    .

    Tour de Fleece, days 7 & 8...

    ...I finished spinning the Armstrong Woods Redwood singles (a Merino-Tencel from Royale Hare).

    Armstrong Woods Redwood, singles


    I did most of the spinning at Spin-In and finished the last bit when I got home. Time to rest my hands! I'll ply this tomorrow.
    .

    Tour de Fleece, day 6 and Eye Candy Friday...

    ...first the short Tour de Fleece report: I spun for 60 minutes. The Husband got up at 3am to leave for Seattle and I couldn't get back to sleep. So I spent most of the day in a fog and nearly fell asleep at my desk!  After dinner, I recovered a bit and managed to get an hour of spinning done. I'll probably get the same amount done tonight, but Spin-In will get me back on track.

    Today's Eye Candy is brought to you by the color Green, because that seems to be he color that attracted me most when I took these pictures!

    Pimento pepper flower:

    Pimento pepper flower

    Morning dew on tomato leaves:

    Morning dew 2

    Green Amish Paste tomato:

    Amish Paste tomato

    Baby strawberries:

    Little green strawberries

    Asiatic lily bud:

    Asiatic Lily bud

    Bougainvillea (well, you know purple will always catch my eye!):

    Bougainvillea

    Up this weekend: Spin-In tomorrow, so I need to make some sort of goodie to share. The weekend will be filled with spinning, spinning, and more spinning. I hope my knee holds up!

    After looking at the garden this morning, I also need to pick a bunch of nectarines to save them from the wildlife in the backyard. The Husband didn't get a chance to put bird netting on the nectarine trees before he left, so I'm going to be fighting off the birds. They've already gotten some choice ones, so I better pick them first thing in the morning!

    It's supposed to cool off a bit for the weekend, which means I can work on the commissioned quilt when I'm not spinning for Tour de Fleece.

    Have a good one!
    .

    Tour de Fleece, day 5...

    ...I didn't get home from work until 7:45pm, so not a lot of spinning time.

    This is what 90 minutes of spinning looks like:

    Armstrong Woods Redwood, bobbin #1

    This is a Merino-Tencel (4 oz) from Royale Hare; the color is Armstrong Woods Redwood. This one might take a few days to complete because of this pesky thing called work...you know that thing that I do to earn money so I can buy more fiber.

    .

    June 2011 Recap...

    ...finally!

    Finished:
    • 6/13 Blue Whale Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
    • Books:
      1. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
      2. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
      3. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
      4. A Storm of Swords, George RR Martin
      5. A Feast for Crows, George RR Martin
      6. Spider Web, Earlene Fowler
      7. Seduction in Death,  J.D. Robb
    Started:
    • nothing
    Worked on:
    • Commission quilt using the rail fence block, currently unnamed
    • Seaweed Cardigan (knitting)  [Ravelry]
    • Turquoise Trail by Laura J Perin (needlepoint)
    • The Beets Go On socks (knitting) [Ravelry] - frogged them so I can start again
    Works In Progress, did not work on:
    • Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
    • Jungle Songs quilt
    • Natural Dyes batts from Yarn Wench (spinning) [Ravelry]
    • Royale top, 2 oz (Merino-Yak-Silk) top from A Verb for Keeping Warm [Ravelry]
    • Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry
    • Tealing Groovy quilt  (quilting)
    UFOs:
    1. Chasing Rainbows Heather--one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz) (spinning)
    2. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
    3. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
    4. Stranded Hearts socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
    5. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)

    Tour de Fleece, day 4...

    ... for the next 3 weeks I'm going to show my Tour de Fleece progress/accomplishments in lieu of WIP-it Wednesdays.

    I took my wheel to Craft Night and spun instead of working on my needlepoint. I debated whether to ply the Mountain Meadow singles or start something new. I decided that finishing a yarn was a good thing, so I opted to ply. This is an energized yarn (to say the least) and the colors are cool.

    Here is the competed Mountain Meadow yarn:

    Mountain Meadow yarn


    and a close-up:

    Mountain Meadow yarn, close-up


    Specs:
    Started 7/3/11
    Finished 7/5/11
    SW Merino-Alpaca top (4.1 oz) from Wolf Creek Wools;
    Spun and Navajo-plied on a Lendrum DT folding wheel
    Yield: 271 yds, 12 WPI

    Tonight I plan on starting a Merino-Tencel (4 oz) from Royale Hare, called Armstrong Woods Redwood. Given that I don't have tons of time on work days, it might take me a few days to finish it.
    .

    Tour de Fleece, days 1-3...

    ...that's pretty much all I worked on this weekend. It was too hot to knit and way too hot to wrestle a quilt, although I did manage to out in a couple of hours last night.

    Here's what I did for Tour de Fleece.

    • Day 1, 7/2
      I spun all 4 ounces of Spring Lake Lagoon, a SW Merino-Tencel from Royale Hare.

      Spring Lake Lagoon, singles

    • Day 2, 7/3
      Navajo-plied Spring Lake Lagoon (139.5 yds, 11 WPI)

      Spring Lake Lagoon yarn

      and the close-up

      Spring Lake Lagoon yarn, close up

      I also started Mountain Meadow, a Merino-Alpaca blend from Wolf Creek Wools

      Mountain Meadow, bobbin #1

    • Day 3, 7/4
      Finished spinning Mountain Meadow. It's ready to ply.

      Mountain Meadow singles
    Lately, I've been spinning Merino-Tencel, Merino-Bamboo, or Merino-Silk blends. The Merino-Alpaca blend was a nice change and I wish I had more of this to spin. In looking at my Tour de Fleece fiber, Mountain Meadow is the only one that is not blended with tencel, bamboo, or silk. I might have add "ocean" to my target of spinning fiber with forest, meadow and lake names if I want to spin something that doesn't have tencel, bamboo, or silk in it.

    We had a quiet weekend. he Husband was busy getting the garden ready for me to handle while he's on vacation (his annual trip to Seattle for the Seattle-to-Portland ride). He's trying to get most of the plant on automatic drip irrigation so I don't have to water too many things individually. That's a good thing because I have a black thumb...I kill pretty much any plant that needs lots of care.

    Never did get around to posting a recap over the weekend, so I'll posted that up soon.
    .

    Welcoming July with an Eye Candy Friday...

    ...I don't know about you, but I wasn't ready for June to be done yet! I guess I better get the recap together RSN.

    We're starting to enjoy the bounty of our fruit trees.

    Arctc Jay nectarine:

    Arctic Jay Nectarine

    Double Delight nectarine:

    Double Delight Nectarine

    Ripe plum, type unknown:

    Ripe plum

    Santa Rosa plum:

    Santa Rosa Plum

    The tomatoes are going a little slow this year because of our strange weather. I hope we get a decent crop!

    In the flower area, we're waiting for some Asian lilies to bloom and they are taking their sweet time about it! The hydrangea, on the other hand, is blooming like crazy.

    Hydrangeas

    Hydrangea color variations

    We're not the only ones enjoying them We found this little visitor in the blooms this morning:

    Say hello to my little friend

    And because no Eye Candy post would be complete without yet-another-unknown-flower (YAUF TM), here is a pretty little yellow flower:

    Yellow flower, unknown type

    Notice that the stamens are between the rows of petals.

    Up this weekend: I want to make good progress on the hand-sewing part of my commissioned quilt. It's supposed to be a hot weekend...not a pleasant time to work on a quilt, but I need to make progress.

    Tomorrow is the official start of Tour de Fleece! This is my 5th year of participating and I really enjoy it. I joined only one team this year, the team for our spinning group (Team Spinnity on Ravelry). My goal is to spin every day and get as much done as possible. So that means spinning a lot over the long weekend.

    And just maybe I'll get a few rows knitted on my sweater. We'll see.

    Happy Canada Day to those who celebrate it! 

    And if I don't make it for a Monday post, Happy 4th of July!
    .

    Eye Candy Friday...

    ...and I'm almost ready to call it a week. Today's eye candy is brought to you by the colors orange and pink. The Lion's Tail ...