The Temp and The Horse

The Temp and the Horse is a Mallory Southwell novel written by Valerie Hibbard and available on Amazon.

Book by Valerie Hibbard

It was a pleasant surprise when I received it in the mail on Saturday, the last day of the old year! That ended it on a high note.

Recently I haven’t spent enough time on reading for pleasure, so I’m thankful that my friend Valerie sent me an autographed copy of her newly released book.

We met several years ago on line with a mutual interest in fiber. Managing to meet in person a couple of times, we continue growing our friendship with the help of the internet.

She is a woman of widely varying interests and experiences. Some of this knowledge I recognized in parts of her book, while other facts I know she thoroughly researched.

I have enjoyed reading the anecdotes and short stories that she published in her Plain and Practical newsletter years ago and highly recommend  The Temp and the Horse.

It is adult reading so I would like to quote some from Valerie’s

“Warning to the Easily Offended”

” …There is murder, there is espionage, there is lying and sneaking. There is sex…People con others out of money, burn down houses, perform surgery without permission, practice eugenics and…”

In spite of her warnings I started reading immediately and couldn’t put it down til the end. I found her book to be realistically compelling with an intriguing story-line. Could such things actually be happening?

It starts with Mallory’s unsuccessful search for a job after graduating college with a double major. Finally she feels forced to take jobs with a Temp agency. This turns into a fast paced adventure that leads her down unexpected roads!

There are two more novels planned to follow this one. Can hardly wait for their release.

Valerie’s style may vary in genre but it is delightful and her characters engaging. She also has another style of book on Amazon that I would like to read.

I have always enjoyed mysteries and espionage as well as westerns and some historical novels. What are your favorite genres? Leave a comment, let me know what you are reading?

 

Finally F. O.’s

Finally, now that Christmas presents have been opened, I can share some of my December knitting with you.

Santa sacks

snow flake and deer head

 

I discovered a blog that was publishing knitted Santa sack patterns for advent. Bekki did a great job posting a new one almost daily for the 24 days. Unfortunately I didn’t knit them as fast as she did so I only finished the number I needed for gifts.

Santa sacks

tree and gift

Santa sacks

bells and snowflake

Santa sack

Faire Isle

But she did inspire me, I knit seven from her patterns, then I made a grid and charted my own design for an angel (which I wanted for my daughter’s collection and Bekki hadn’t gotten to that day yet) And I’m looking forward to finishing the rest of the set that she published.

Santa sack

Angel sack before sewing

As we end this year, I realize that I haven’t shared as many finished objects with you as I had planned. Thanks to those who have continued to follow me in spite of my inconsistency and a welcome to those who may have just stumbled upon my blog. Stay tuned, a new year gives me another chance to improve my blogging habits 🙂

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!  May Health and Happiness be yours.

Kitties and Crafts

Kitties and crafts are an interesting combination! Before adopting, one was on my lap while I was knitting on a hat! He jumped down through the loop of the circular needles, ignoring the yarn, so I mistakenly assumed that his twin brother would act the same 🙂

They did come home with us with slight colds (along with the medicine to treat their sneezes) Sheldon has recovered and Stanley’s sneezes are getting less frequent!  But that means their curiosity is increasing! Sheldon has to see whatever it is we are doing. With Christmas fast approaching I have been trying to get some knitting finished. Sheldon thinks moving yarn is to be bitten, then he jumps on my lap for a closer taste! Makes for slow knitting!

cat with knitting.

That innocent look of “who me?”

After nearly a week I decided I wanted to see their reaction to my spinning wheel. I started spinning some short lengths of my hand dyed merino top. Within a minute Sheldon had put his paw on the moving treadle but soon figured out that it would get hit by the wheel as the treadle raised. He moved to the side and with his paw on my toe  “helped” me treadle for a while. Then he jumped to my lap, smelled the wool , but was mesmerized watching the flyer spin as if trying to figure out how it was working. Then he bit at the yarn! After the second bite and second NO he decided to get down but continued to watch from a short distance. Unfortunately I have no pictures of this since my hands were full protecting my yarn!

merino

hand dyed top

I spun two bobbins with somewhat even color changes, hoping they would line up with each other when plied.

single hand spun yarn

spools of singles

The colors overlapped some but came close to what I’d planned. The most I could fit on my bobbin was 220yds (seen below on the niddy noddy) but with the two smaller skeins totals just over 300yds. (enough to knit another shawl!)

plied yarn

Plied yarn on niddy-noddy and in smaller skeins.

New Additions!

After almost a year of a pet-less home we took a trip to our local animal shelter. We were looking for 2 cats so they would keep each other company on any day we might be gone.We didn’t expect to bring any home, just window-shopping.

new cats

First afternoon home.

We were lucky, not too many choices but they had 2 brothers who had been turned in as strays. They were so friendly, purring loudly with happiness when we took them out of their cage. I did bring in some knitting, in a craft house I had to see how much of a danger they would be to my yarn. As I sat with my partially knitted hat, one climbed on my lap, sniffed the wool and proceeded to walk through my circular needles (with a tail of yarn falling across his forehead) to jump off my lap 🙂

About nine months old, they are past the kitten stage but playful and smart. They have been exploring the house and testing their limits, as any adolescent would. They like to spend time together but voluntarily separated last night, one following our son to bed, the other joining my husband and me.

Following us around, curious about what we are doing but not too intrusive. They even let me work with wool today, watching as I made dryer balls but not running away with the long piece of roving.

Sheldon the cat

Helping with wool.

Main problem is they are identical twins. One might be a few ounces heavier than the other but not that noticeable. The one that we named Sheldon (because of his choice of his seat on the couch) does have a small scab on one ear, but once that heals completely it’s going to be iffy! The other one (named Stanley after a character in Gravity Falls) does have one white whisker, but those sometimes shed and who knows if the next one will be the same color.? Meanwhile we are learning their characteristics and hoping they are learning their names.Collars would be a solution but I don’t like them on cats, too easy for them to get hung up if they should sneak outside. .

I am realizing how hard it is to photograph black cats and have them show up 🙂

cats on chair.

Stanley’s eyes aren’t really that gold.

Works in Progress

Just a short note to show you my latest projects. The first a small skein that I spun last night, left-overs from an experiment in dyeing top for a long color change. Will get a picture of the large skein after it is dry from setting the twist.

handspun yarn

small skein that starts dark, blending to pale green and ending as yellow.

And this is my second start on a lace shawl that I am attempting. This time I have been placing life lines which is good since I need to rip the last 7 rows to find my mistake!

lace shawl start

start of wavedeck pi shawl

Happy Thanksgiving

No matter whether you celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday or just take the time to think of all you have to be thankful for, I’d like to take this time to thank everyone who takes the time to read this (and other) blogs,the time to learn about and respect the opinions of others (whether you agree or not) and the time to give a smile to family, friends, and strangers.

A wise lady once said “there are no strangers in life, only friends we’ve not yet met.”

Have a Great Week Friends!

Oh What a Tangled…

green linen

Very fine linen yarn.

Oh what a tangle this skein of yarn became! This was part of a custom order that I worked on sporadically throughout the summer as I found time between shows. When I placed this thin skein of yarn on the swift to wind it into a cake to use in plying I found that instead of winding off easily onto my ball winder that it kept catching, tangling and sometimes breaking . I finally wound it by hand onto an empty cone. Thankfully the lovely lady was in no big hurry, just wanted her skeins of linen yarn plied to a thickness that she could use to knit.

When we first met to discuss the project, we decided on a workable thickness and that it would be wet plied. We then went about sorting all the lovely colors into groups of three or four skeins, since they were two different gauges, the one almost as fine as sewing thread.

We did meet so she could see and approve of the progress but she wanted to wait to reclaim her yarn all at once. After many more hours than I had originally thought and well over 7000 yds of plied yarn the project is finished! I really want to see the finished items that it will become under an expert knitter’s hands. And best of all I’ve made a new friend.

The finished skeins covered my card table in a single layer, so here are the pictures with some overlap. The one multicolored skein is the uneven yardage from the original plying, plied with a continuous length of two of the finer singles that were left.

linen

plied linen

2 linen

plied linen

3 linen

3-ply linen

linen yarn

more linen

linen yarn

And more overlapped skeins

 

 

Last Craft Show!

It’s been over a week now since we did the last craft show of our season for this year!

train in Port Sanilac Museum

Entering The Train Depot

It was a first year fiber show that I didn’t find out about until our fiber show that was the end of September. In spite of common wisdom that warns against first year shows, late advertisement for vendors, and a 200+ mile drive to a region of the state that we haven’t explored before I decided to send in an application! I’m glad we did!

The organizer communicated well, asked for pictures of our set-ups and products, and responded promptly to all my questions. The show was held in buildings of a historical museum in Port Sanilac and we needed to be able to fit our display around the furnishings of the buildings. After seeing my pictures she placed us in the Train Depot and let me know that I should be able to use my grid-wall (a display that I didn’t think I would be able to use there) but gladly brought. While this was going on I was busy trying to downsize what we would bring to fit into the suburban. After hauling a trailer full all summer I didn’t want to chance dragging it there and home if there should be a snow storm. (Michigan weather has been unseasonable this year with 50 degree  temps instead of the normal cold, but they are saying snow for this weekend!)

craft show display part 1

Left side of our display, with my shawl and wheel.

craft show display 2

dyed fiber, yarns and knitting, nestled around their glass display case and Ben Franklin stove in the back corner.

The weather was beautiful, the organizer and all the volunteers were helpful and friendly, and from the number of people that came through, advertisement had been good. We were placed next to a couple who are always our backside neighbors at the other fiber festival so we enjoyed their company as well. We did splurge for a motel and ate out (instead of our normal camping) but this first year show didn’t charge a fee. Next year they are but we signed up to repeat it and will look for cheaper lodging.

craft show display 3

smaller grid wall but still held hats, hand dyed yarn and some soft sculptures (needle felted)

craft show display 4

Son’s display of needle felting and copper shawl pins with neighboring booth in the background.

Now that the shows are over I have been catching up on a couple of custom orders, looking forward to posting more often, doing some more dyeing, knitting, and maybe even finding some time to weave!

What are your plans for this fall and winter season? Would be glad to hear what you are planning?

Still around….

I’m still around and reading a little bit. Have been taking pictures but not taking the time to get them on the computer. I have been dyeing yarn and roving, making candles, and printing prints of my husband’s art, washing table covers and repacking for each new show. Soon most will be over and I’ll take the time to catch up on how everyone spent their summers and share some of the high-lights of ours.

Until then stay busy and happy everyone!