Finding North

This weekend was the Grand Depart for the Tour de Fleece and I admittedly got off to a bit of a slow start, but for the very best of reasons. Sometimes friends visit (YAY!) and family adventures take place (YAY!) and the spinning just has to wait or at least proceed at a more modest pace. As much as I love spinning, while I will definitely work on making it fit into my life more easily I won’t ever let it entirely dictate what I’m going to do day-in and day-out. Life will always go on!

In any case, I woke up when the mister was getting ready for work on Saturday and took a little time with my coffee and spindle before the house was up and about…

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We gave our good friend the option to gallivant on Saturday or to stick close to home. We’d shown her our new home & town on Friday and on Saturday she opted to stay home and knit & spin — did I mention she knits and spins, too?! I have the feeling the relaxing involved was as much on her mind as was wanting to let me spin for the Tour. She is, after all, the most thoughtful person I know. I worked on plying my hawser while she worked on spinning her first batt. It was a pretty much as relaxing as it gets.

Sunday was the mister’s day off and I could tell he was feeling a bit restless and needing to go some place special. I packed up my spindle-to-go set and we piled into the adventure mobile. And we wound up here…

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The trails of Copper Falls State Park. It is quite a drive from our house, but extraordinary and worth the trek.

There are the obvious picturesque scenes…

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And the more subtle…

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All around I noticed places where life shouldn’t be able to exist, but it finds a way.

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The vertical fractures in the rock and intense curvature of the roots of this tree were breathtaking. Indeed, this is a place where rigid strength clashes with an very organic desire to find a way to thrive.

As we marveled at the cedar trees around us, thinking about the little red cedar spindle in my pack, my husband pointed to this tree.

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“Look,” he said. “Even the trees spin here.” ❤

As we trekked back from this stand of spinning trees in awe of the natural world, I lingered just long enough to hear a little girl ask her mom, “Mom, which was is North?”

And her mom responded, “I don’t know, honey. I don’t have a compass on my phone.”

I think it struck me because since our move it’s taken me a long time to get my bearings regarding the orientation of the roads around town. There have been many a time I find myself leaning back in my seat to see the little “W” or “E” on the dash when my husband is driving to try to get a better feel for where I am and where I’m going. I definitely have a long way to go.

On the trail, though, I always feel like given a little time, especially on a sunny day, I can figure out the cardinal directions and the general time based on the sun. In college when I would be cross country skiing new trails that’s always how I would navigate.  For me, my place on Earth is something I consider a lot — for location, for weather, even for the different angle of light in the evening. Because I’m such a visual person and science nerd, I am just always considering how my place on Earth affects what the world looks like and how it changes my perspective. Knowing my place in the physical world helps to bind me to the person that I am, as well, and the way I spend my time. Wife, mom, daughter, friend, spinner, knitter, hiker — all these things are impacted by — if you really think about it — my location, my relationship to where North is.  And yet I have never considered my phone as a compass that helps me find North.

After a picnic lunch, we fittingly turned the car North again, this time toward Potato River Falls.

d and moose

It was a new-to-us place and it turned out to be the ultimate in happy places for my girl…

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And Moose, who only tried to check in one innocent bystander wading out into the falls. He’s so happy in the water and always so alert to people who might be rescuing.

I had a little company while I spun…

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The best kind of company, actually.

We made our way home, refreshed and exhausted. And after getting the house in order and plants watered, I settled down to prep some fiber and spin.

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I finished plying my hawser and got a respectable amount onto my spindle.

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And I started to dig in to what will be a 2-ply worsted-ish yarn with Superfine Merino from Three Waters Farm. This is one of my absolute favorite colorways — Cafe Diem. After spinning a few fine yarns it’s taking a bit to get back in the worsted frame of mind, but it’s a welcome change.

I’m very hopeful that someone in that little girl’s hiking party was able to help her find North and that she was able to better understand her relationship with her place on Earth. I’m still working on my bearings, to be sure, here in our new home and on all the new trails. I’m still learning the light and how my place in this world has changed, ever so slightly over the past months. Odds are I still won’t ever remember that there’s a compass on my phone, but you can bet that I’m still thinking about finding North.

Welcome to the Brrrs

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it in the past, but at our house we call the months of September through December “The Brrrs.” Partly because, you know, SeptemBER, OctoBER, etc., but also because where we live that’s the time we start feeling a chill in the air. It’s when we wake up and think, “Brrr! It’s cold!” It’s one of our favorite times of year and the mister and I celebrated last night with a little campfire in the back yard. You know, to properly welcome The Brrrs.

We talked about how the kids are doing in school, a few scheduling things coming up, the economy, and we counted satellites as they raced overhead. It was even cool enough for my favorite knitted hat. Ahhhhhh…

I’m still, yes still, fighting off whatever has decided to hang out in my respiratory system. I’m feeling much better, my energy level is back up and for the most part I feel good, but I have a lingering cough that still sounds not great. If it’s not gone or much improved at the end of the long weekend, I’m afraid it’ll require a doctor visit. I remain optimistic that it’ll be cleared up and am trying to take heart that I’ve built some crazy tough antibodies from this one. Suffice to say, despite feeling better I’ve not been at 100% and I’m still feeling a bit behind.

We did get to go for a really lovely little hike earlier in the week though…

img_4299With the natural spring right next to a small woodland, this is a park that is great for bird watching. We saw a few warblers and a cardinal family this time through. Oh, and lots of little toads — they were awfully cute! We saw the lingering signs of summer…

img_4309As well as the first signs of the impending autumn…

img_4305I’m so happy The Brrrs are back and hiking is a little more comfortable!

And really, very little says we’re beginning to tip toward autumn & winter like the fiber arts. I managed to get a lot of plying done this week, too, but because of the whole being a little slower than normal I don’t have proper FO photos ready to go quite yet. Four skeins are washed, set, and dried though (and a cowl & shawl, too!). Weather permitting, I should have those photos and stories all set to share with you next week.

I’m currently working on plying my final bobbins of that mass of singles I had spun…

img_4311Which are becoming this 3-ply of Nest Fiber.

I’ve also been sinking a lot of time into my Feel Good Yarn Co Summer Sock Club finale…

img_4313I’m at the toe of my first in the pair and I’m planning to take just a little creative license there. I’ve got just until September 14th when the knitalong is officially over, so I’m trying very hard to really cruise through them. I’ll admit that I’m really enjoying the pattern and they are going quite a bit faster now that I’ve really got the pattern in my hands & mind.

I also have a couple spindle projects going. I’m not moving mountains with progress on them, but now that I’ve actually been up to the task of cooking again I’ve been sneaking in my moments during the ‘down moments’ of making dinner.

This spindle I’m spinning some fiber that I blended on my new-to-me blending board. I still have to share that new development with you, too, don’t I?! In any case, first I couldn’t stop myself from trying out the blending board when it arrived…

img_4312And then I really just had to see how it would spin up. I can see hours of entertainment and fun ahead of me!

I’ve also been stealing a moment here and there for this spin…

img_4314These are some rolags I got a while back from Classy Squid Fiber Co. I have 6oz of them and I’ve been hoarding them partly because I LOVE them and partly because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to finish them. One day I wanted to have a quick and easy spinning project to take with me and I just grabbed my first pack of rolags here and started. I’ll figure out where I’m going with them eventually. For now, I’m just going to enjoy spinning them.

Throw in a little weeding in the gardens and the fact that I laid fresh grass clipping just outside my front window so I get the constant sweet smell of cut grass wafting through the house and I feel as though The Brrrs are off to a grand beginning here. I’m sure summer and autumn will do their little dance back and forth for a few more weeks yet, but at our house we’re celebrating each crisp breeze, each tiny shift of the leaves changing colors, and every song of the birds that are beginning to migrate south. Welcome to The Brrrs, my friends! May you enjoy each moment as much as we do!

Squeezing It All In

Planning and goals and deadlines.

That has been my week this week. If things go according to plan, this will be our last full week at home before we start our school year with the kids so I’m trying to squeeze in everything. Cleaning, gardening, spinning, knitting — it is ALL on the list. As I work on mentally shifting out of the relaxed summer schedule to our more regimented school one, I have lists upon lists of things I want to wrap up and goals I’m trying to hit before my days become math & history lessons, reading & writing 5 paragraph essays.

I’ve made some very good progress. We got our last shipment of school books and I managed to get them all organized so we are all set to begin the new year. My landscaping project is slowly, but surely being mulched with grass clippings from our wonderful neighbors and the weeding continues to be minimal and all the plants are looking great. I finally got around to washing our picture window so I’m not looking through a heavy coat of dirt while I spin. The floors got some deep cleaning and I’ve been keeping up (better than usual) with the laundry. In short, the housework — inside and out — is in a good place.

In my craft, I finished my July installment of the Summer Sock Club from Feel Good Yarn Co.

img_4025This is just a quick snapshot of the first sock, but the pair is done and awaiting some FO photos. Look for a complete wrap-up next week.

From the socks, I shifted my knitting to a special test knit.

img_4063I can’t show you the design just yet, but I can say it’s in Bijou Basin Ranch’s Lhasa Wilderness. It’s my first time using this yarn and it is seriously incredible. Not only is the yarn absolutely scrumptious, the shade of blue is perfection in my book. It’s such a treat this project is just flying off my needles. I can’t wait to show you more!

On the spinning front, you saw this project yesterday, but I thought I’d take an updated picture.

img_4065You can see my less than graceful first attempt at creating rolags. They are HUGE, but they’re spinning fine. I’m at the point where I’m debating a switch to a fresh spindle or shaft as it’s getting pretty heavy. I know I could remove the BBs from the spindle to lighten it, but as I have extra spindles and shafts I’d much rather go that route. I’m going to hang in there a bit longer though, as I’d really like to try to fit this rolag on there. We’re see how she spins.

When it does get too cumbersome, I have my lovely bouquet of Akerworks Mini Spindles to fall back on…

img_4004Have I shared this photo here? It was one I took for Instagram, but I just love it. Honestly, it reminds me of a pretty little bouquet and I have dreams of people giving their spinning friends & loved ones a bouquet like this for birthdays and holidays in lieu of flowers.

But I digress.

I also finished spinning my August Top of the Month Club fiber from Three Waters Farm.

img_4064This is Red Hot & Blue — it’s on Polwarth/Silk 85/15 and I spun it with the intention of having some wonderful barberpoling. I had so much fun with my worsted barberpoling skeins during the Tour de Fleece I decided to spin this one up the same way. It’s a little less organized as I quite literally was spinning it within an hour of receiving it and didn’t overthink the prep. It’s been one of my favorite Three Waters Farm spins to date, so I can’t wait to see it plied.

While that spin rested, I start in on Dyeabolical‘s 66 Sunset on Fawn Shetland.

img_4059It’s one of the shop’s new colorways this summer and I just love the earthy tones in this one. I’ve not gotten as far as I was hoping on this one because I really dove into knitting at the start of this week, but I’m enjoying every moment I steal for it.

And there you have it — my attempts to squeeze about a month’s worth of work into a single week. Even though I went into the week knowing my goals were unreasonable, the planning and goals and deadlines have carried me through. I have to say that I cannot complain with returns.