Hello March

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See my cold frame? Nope, me neither.

The snow is really deep this year. That’s a 3-foot chicken wire fence in the photo above, and it has snowed more since I took that picture. Besides the cold frame, the garlic, ground cherry seeds, and asparagus are waiting. I think I know how they feel.

I’m getting ready to have two rain barrels installed once the snow melts. Both barrels (one free, one very cheap) are from neighbors, and I just ordered the diverter kits to attach them to the downspouts. It’ll make watering much easier on the side of the yard farthest from the outside faucet and, I hope, help when rain doesn’t fall on my schedule.

Poor California continues to be so dry. One gardening blog I read suggested gardeners may want to grow more of their own broccoli and other crops mostly raised in California for commercial sale. I’m sure the vegetable farmers in my region are on top of that or will be as soon as the weather allows. But thinking about that and all those garden catalogs makes me want to grow ALL the vegetables! How to grow more without making myself more work than I can handle? There are only so many hours in a day, and taking on too much sucks the fun out of gardening. I’m going to first try to increase productivity in the spaces I already have set aside for food gardening. If I don’t use more physical space, there should be a limit to how many weeds can get in there. I’m also going to give my kids a bit more of the joy (translation: they will each get a tiny bit of garden to be in charge of for the family, not just to lure gnomes or fairies in). Stay tuned.

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Warping inkle loom with feline “help”

I’ve been doing a bit of weaving and spinning on the weekend. I warped my inkle loom twice for Andean pebble weave. The first time I used very thin cotton yarn and couldn’t really see what was happening. Since I am working with yarn already in my stash, I had to find some thicker yarn that would stand up to the tension and abrasion of weaving. I took some fingering weight wool yarn intended for knitting and respun it on my spindles. Once it was overly twisty, I warped right onto the loom so the tension controlled the extra twist, and the yarn is working well as I practice the techniques in Laverne‘s book.

I started a new job last week and welcomed bus knitting back into my life! My commuting project is the Easy Folded Poncho from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas, an awesome shop on Bainbridge Island (a ferry ride away from downtown Seattle). Right now it looks like the beginnings of a rectangle, so photos at a later stage. Secret knitting for a special birthday later in the year is underway and proceeding in unexpected directions; the reveal is still a long way off so sorry about that. Too bad sorting out the gardening isn’t as easy.

I am reading Sarah Anderson’s wonderful book, The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Designs, and learning a lot. Most of my spinning is still done on spindles, but with my art yarn goal in mind, I purchased a used Louet S-10 that I found through the local spinning group. Many art yarns can be spun on handspindles, but I thought there will be times it would be easiest for me to have both hands free to work with the fiber and let my foot be in charge of the twisting. I didn’t think I’d own a wheel again this soon, but figuring out how much I want to work on art yarn made me think again. This is a great wheel for me, very similar to my first one, and I’m looking forward to playing around with it on the weekends. 2014 is off to a great start for me.IMG_1023

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