Shawl Heaven

We have had some wonderful sunny days and I have taken full advantage to get seeds in the ground and plants moved around.  I am really excited to see if I can have some success now with the removal of so many branches off the trees in the backyard.  I have a bit more sun poking through and it is lovely.  I did give up and just put all the sun loving plants in the front beds.  Who needs flowers when they can have tomatoes and peppers..right?!  Although I have planted flowers for dyeing…a necessity!

I love to see the little seedlings poking through the ground.  I did a lot of lettuce, spinach, kale, and root veggies.

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I transplanted my strawberries from the hanging basket into a bed and they just perked right up and look so nice!

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I love herbs and added a few more favorites this year.  I like to do my herbs in pots so I can move them around if wanted.  I also have rosemary…a necessary kitchen staple!

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I am not sure how well my raspberries will do as this is such a shady area, but I had so many shoots so translated them to extend the bed.  If they do not perform well this year I will move them all to another area.

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Even though rain was forecast for the week end…and it did indeed rain…I managed to hit a few estate sales.  These roosters are a good 18 inches high and since Becca has been saying she wants a few roosters for decor…well I couldn’t pass them up.  My children know not to say the are collecting anything unless they are serious as this momma will start finding them the best goodies out there.

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I had to add this little guy as well.  I love the colors!

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It was a marvelous week end for my collections as well!  It is so difficult to find baskets and this week end I scored two.  One was only $3 and one was $5…can you imagine that! I never started out to collect baskets, but my mom has the loveliest collection and when I had the opportunity to collect my first three…well the memories they evoked…I couldn’t resist…then it just rather went from there as collections do.  But each basket reminds me of my mom and for that they are priceless!

Isn’t this just the most darling little painted milk glass basket ever?

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I don’t pick up a lot of milk glass anymore as that collection is out of control.  But when I find pieces that I don’t have or that I find so beautiful, well I can’t resist.  I found this vase to be so lovely and it was only $4 so how could I resist?

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I spent a large part of my weekend, when not in the garden, playing in the dye pots.  I had purchased some black walnut and some liquid botanical dyes from Botanical Colors and couldn’t wait to play.  What I love about the liquid dyes is that I can mix and blend them much easier than the powders.  I do still use botanicals that I pick but for those not readily available to this area I purchase them and found the concentrated liquids to be the best.

Walnut shells need to boil for an extended time and then sit overnight.  I then added the yarn and am just allowing it to sit in the dye for a few days to try to deepen the color.

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I LOVE this color.  I have been trying for green and although this is not green it is a wonderful accident.  It is a mixture of indigo and Himalayan rhubarb.

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On my drying racks I have some cochineal raspberries and lavenders that are the result of adding iron to the pot.  The green is one of two that I dyed and is pomegranate with iron.  For the iron I just grabbed handfuls of rusty old nails and screws from the shed and threw them into the pot.  I also used my rusty aluminum pot for both of the iron baths as well.

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I had wanted some additional ivory colors and took the avocado peels and pits and boiled them down for a few hours, strained the liquid and threw in the yarn with a rusty utensil that I had.  I wanted to avoid the pinks that are so typical of avocado dyes.

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Sadly I am now all out of dyeing yarn so must await yet another order.  I am going to try some mohair and one ply this next go around.  Although the Merino super wash sock is my all time favorite.

I finally got around to blocking my Amulet Shawl by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade.  She is by far my favorite shawl designer as her instructions make lace knitting doable for anyone.  I have always been so afraid of lace, but with her tips and instructions I am now jumping in with both feet.  This is yarn that was dyed by Becca for our Etsy shop Stitches Plus Purls.  I snagged a skein and she dyed the tonal green to match.  I added a bit of mohair in the first green pattern area just for some texture and added interest.

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And this is the reason I have not completed any other projects recently!  This is the Impressionist Shawl MKAL by Helen Stewart.  Every week for 4 weeks we got a new clue.  I have never knit so intently and so obsessively to keep up with and complete a project so timely!  It is beyond gorgeous and was an enjoyable knit.  I love the picot bind off as it just adds another detail.  I did invest in a blocking kit and T-pins so I could block these two shawls correctly.

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For this shawl I used one ply merino wool; two Hedgehog Fibers (the pink and the ivory) and a yarn dyed by my granddaughter Milsie (blue).  This color combo is a bit bright but it is so light and airy and will be a gorgeous accent piece even in the warm months!

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Going back to work has most certainly put time constraints on my time for dyeing, sewing, gardening, reading, and knitting, but I am always more productive when I have limited time…go figure.  It hasn’t been too bad and this go around I am keeping a healthy work/life balance.  It is all good and the extra money does allow me to feed my hobbies!

And now it is back to the needles and my latest socks…or perhaps I’ll go get my onion sets in the ground.

Making Hay while the Sun Shines!

Patricia

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