Thursday, February 16, 2012

Back To Real Life!

This is how a hot dog cools off in February!
Yes, we have left the swamps of Florida behind and are back to everyday life in Ohio in February.  We woke Saturday morning to a beautiful 3" snowfall, which has actually been our biggest snow of the season to dateWe have had loads of precipitation, but the temperatures have been so warm that it has almost all been in the form of RAIN.  I would prefer some snow and frozen ground to the mud.  But, I will deal with what we get and count the days until spring.  It seems to be within our grasp now, it really does.

 Meanwhile, I have a mud room to contain muddy dogs until they can be toweled off with "dog towels".  My mother's dog, Luca, does NOT like being shut in the mud room.  Rowdy does not care.

Here is how nice the snow looked out the back door on Saturday.

And I love sitting at my dining room table watching the birds at the bird feeders on the maple tree.  

We get lots of cardinals, always in pairs.  At least 2 different species of woodpecker visit the feeder as well as lots of nuthatches and titmice.  

I love the contrast of the bright red cardinals against the snow as they sit in the surrounding trees waiting for their turn at the feeders.  

Along with the snow we got some really cold temps.  It was 4 degrees outside Sunday morning when I came downstairs to start the day.  Needless to say, my outdoor chore of fence mending got put on hold.  This Saturday it is supposed to be in the upper 40's and no rain!

I have been working on my hand-dyed alpaca/bamboo batts I wrote about in January.  I am spinning it so fine, though that I have managed to get through only about 2 1/2 ounces out of 8.  And its not because I'm not working on it.  It's just really slow going.  

Here's the 3-way swirl roving I started spinning up at guild last week.  It is so cool, when the bobbin is spinning, the yarn on the bobbin appears blue.  But you can see the separate colors here.

I have also almost finished warping my loom for a couple more rugs.  I'm using a 2 color warp this time and will experiment with weaving a sort of checkerboard rug.  We'll see.

And I finally got around to doing some dyeing!  So much fun.  I even had a turquoise streak on my cheek when Sam came home Tuesday night.  I dyed some of the gorgeous roving I just got back from Zeilingers.  It is 50 % alpaca and 50% cormo/corriedale wool.  Very nice.  I dyed a pound using 4 colors, black, silver grey, turquoise and golden ochre.

This is how it looks after the color is applied, but before it is wrapped and the color is "smooshed" into the fibers, like in the photo below.   Then, heat is added.  I used a microwave for this batch.

And finally it is hung on my heated towel rack to dry.  The first batch I did I think I used too much dye and the colors kind of ran together and it looks very green (bottom left on the rack), but the next 3 batches I am quite happy with.  I would have liked the turquoise to be more concentrated, but I will note that in the notebook I keep and use more dye next time.

 So that's what I've been up to in the week since I returned from Florida.  Mom and her sister are still enjoying the warm Florida weather and have had family and friends coming and going.  My cousin, Tracey, arrived last night and I wish I could be there with her.  We always have a great time together.  We will plan better next time!

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