Monday, April 25, 2005

leno lace

Image hosted by

I have finished with the last of the Wensleydale roving that I spun.  I used it up making a shawl on the 5 foot triangle loom.  I used a "leno lace" weaving pattern, which consists of moving a warp every now and again.  If you move a warp one nail across the top, you must move it two nails on each of the sides.  This will leave a space which you then fill by twisting the warp stitches.  Usually, I will twist the vertical "ladders" first, and when I am finished weaving, I go back and do the horizontal warps.  Here is a close up of the lace pattern, you can see how the warps are twisted.

Image hosted by 

I chose this weaving pattern for the Wensleydale because of the silky lustrous hand that the yarn has....well, that and also, I figured that an open lacy look would be nice for a summer shawl.  When I took the shawl off the loom, I was happily surprised by the drape, and I am becoming a big fan of the Wensleydale wool.  One big mistake that I made was in my decision not to knot the fringe.  It is already starting to "untwist".  I believe this is due to the fact that the Wensleydale has such a long staple.  I had spun it 'worsted', and the resulting yarn was strong and shiny, but slipped on itself when I wanted to knot the bottom of the fringe.  I should have planned to loop the fringe like I did with the smaller sample shawl, but I was impatient to get it off the loom.
I see by my 2005 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival catalog, that the North American Wensleydale Sheep Association will be holding its annual meeting at the Festival.  The add states that this rare breed currently exists only in the UK and parts of mainland Europe. I have read elsewhere that at one time there were less than 200 Wensleydale sheep, so they were near extinction.  They are now being established in the US.
I hope to attend the MSW ..if I go...I will wear my shawl.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

sanguinaria canadensis

Image hosted by

or more commonly known as bloodroot, is blooming nicely in my garden right now.  I have had it for about 3 years.  It came to me by way of a gift from a good friend of mine (who I think may have purchased it from Richter's Herbs).  I learned that in the wild, it likes to grow in rich moist soil in the wood, so I planted mine in the shady area next to the stream bed.  I wanted this plant for the rhizome that is orangey red in color, and has been used by the Native Americans (and in turn the colonists) as a dye plant.  The flowers are small and dainty and would not guess that the root would contain a red sap.  The flowers open each morning, and close up in the late afternoon.  Once the petals drop off, the leaves get bigger, and then disappear in the middle to late summer, not to be seen again until next spring.  I have never had the nerve to dig up this little beauty and destroy it for the dye bath it would make.  I am content that it is growing nicely for me!
While reading about it, I discover more and more interesting ...did you know researchers are studying the possibility of using the root to treat cancer?  Image hosted by Photobucket.comWhat??!! 
No fiber content on the blog today?
Actually, I have been very busy with springtime rabbit chores.  I clipped and cleaned.  Nothing to show for that but bare hares (baskets of angora) and clean cages!  The chickens like to watch me while I work this chore, they all gather round me and act as if what I am doing is very interesting, and somehow might just have something to do with food ultimately.
When I clean the hutches, I use a propane torch.  There are some people that cringe when I say that, but I really feel this is the most effective way to get in all the cracks and crevice's that critters like mites like to hide.  It is also a good way to rid the wispy hair that tends to cling on the wood and wire all winter.  I find that I don't have to deal with the smell of bleach, or wait for the wood on the hutches to dry before I let the rabbits enter.  I read about this method of burning the hutches in Mother Earth Magazine.
I enjoy this task, even though it is time consuming to torch every square inch of the hutches with a small propane flame.  I guess I am a bit of a pyro, but I like watching the blue flame melt the hair and anything else that gets in its way.  I always make sure that the rabbits are no where around when I do this.  Otherwise, they would be very worried, I am sure, at the smell of their hair burning...they would be frightened and think that the warren was on fire! 
With the hutches all clean and repaired, and the weather abnormally warm for this time of year, it was time to return the buns to their regular routine.  Jack had been spending the week inside with us.  He really enjoys this.  He is very well behaved, and it is a temptation to allow him to become a house rabbit...only I really don't like having to change a litter pan daily.  We will miss his company in the evenings when he has fun playing with the paper towel rolls and running around the living room.
Before I put Jack back in his hutch, I moved the doe's hutch so that he could have full view of what is going on over there.  He seems to really like this, and spends most of his time gazing in that direction.
I would love to breed him again, only I do not have any homes to send the offspring to, and do not want to keep more than I can handle.  He will have to be content with this close, and yet sooo
far away!


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Chance, we hardly knew ye

Image hosted by

Dear little Chance, less than one year old, died suddenly this past weekend.  I am uncertain as to what went wrong, and will never know as I did not send her for autopsy.  We buried her by the fallen tree on the bank overlooking the river.
I first discovered that she was not feeling well when I noticed that she did not touch her food or water bowl on Friday.  This was unusual for Chance, she was the only bunny who was born alive out of a litter of 6, and she always had a big appetite from the time she would nurse without any competition.  She loved to eat and was always eager to see me at mealtime.  This day she seemed very listless and subdued.  I tried to get her to take some water through a syringe.  She perked up a little, and ate some of the fresh dandelion leaves that I offered to tempt her to eat.  She chewed very, very slowly as if it were an effort.  I watched her all day, trying to offer other bits of food.  She ate some apple, but did not want any banana.  She did eat some hay, but none of her regular food.  She stayed very still all day, and only moved occasionally.  She did not pass any urine, and the droppings she did pass were very small.  By evening I was very worried about her. She passed away during the night.  She was a little over 6 months old.

I feel so sad about Chance, even though I didn't have her very long.  She was a sweet bunny, and special because she struggled to live, despite the fact that all her litter mates were still born.  We named her Chance because we were doubtful if she would pull through those first few days.  She grew into what seemed a healthy young doe, but sadly, I suspect that something else was wrong that I could not see.
Now her hutch is empty and I miss her.  Little Chance, we hardly knew ye. 

Saturday, April 09, 2005

april showers

Image hosted by

april showers brought flood waters back to the riverrim last weekend.
High water marks were close to what they were during hurricane Ivan last fall, despite rumors that they would eclipse the flood of '55.

Thankfully, we remained dry except for a little water in the basement.
This was not a big rain, we were just saturated with snow melt and spring rain, and run off.  The Delaware River overflowed it banks, and created damage all the way down through NJ.  So many people are dealing with flood aftermath heart goes out to them.
The riverrim has undergone a remodeling of sorts.  I am forever in awe of the powerful force that water is.  75% of the earths surface is covered with water.  70% of the human body is water. It is the fluid of life and it can take life.  It can be a blessing and a curse.  I wonder about the millions of gallons of water that pass by the riverrim and where it all goes....from time to time the river deposits little offerings on the riverrim.  Some of my favorites include a piece of broken ceramic ?? with the date Dec 21, 1897 Iron Works N.Y. and a pair of old wire rim spectacles.  Most often I find old fishing lures.  Once we found a brass bed headboard!  The high water has not receded enough for me to walk the rim and see what new treasures may be there to glean.
Image hosted by
This week I finished working on a tie from Interweave Knits, winter '05 issue.  The pattern is very easy to work, you could do it with your eyes closed.  I used Opal Southwestern Sock Yarn.  I gave the finished tie as a birthday present.  Actually, it was the recipient's idea that I use the sock yarn to make a tie.  He had seen me working socks, and holding one up to his shirt, remarked that the pattern would make a nice looking tie.  It was at that precise moment that I remembered seeing the pattern for ties in the magazine.  The pattern repeat yarn worked out pretty well over the thirty some stitches required for the tie...however there are a few spots where it did not work evenly.  The hardest part of the project was the finishing.  Perhaps this is due mostly to the fact that I am not a "good finisher"... and need to study up on some good finishing techniques.  I will be making more of the ties, they go fast and make nice presents for guys.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin