The backlog of fleece is mostly spun!

It’s taken a few months, but I’ve finally caught up with the backlog of fleece in my cedar chest.  Everything is organized in plastic bags, and there is plenty for some good winter sweaters.  Yesterday I finished spinning the white fleece, and that I just have to finish plying.

White Fleece

Handspun wool

I haven’t posted here yet about my dabbling in “Origami Bonasi”; last fall I took a wonderful book out of the library, “Origami Ikebana”, and discovered techniques for creating oriental flower displays out of recycled paper and newspaper.  The techniques work well, and the results have been very satisfying.  I did several for holiday presents last year and this spring did some for birthday presents.  I’ve mostly done free standing little sculptures, but am thinking of trying some wall mounted ones next.  Right now I’m working on a small flower sculpture to sit on the vanity in our new bathroom.

Origami flowers

Flowers and leaves in progress

Yellow Bonsai

Completed sculpture; this was entered in the winter show at the Artists Guild

Origami ikebana


It may be spring, but the weather hasn’t heard about it!

Still a foot of snow on the ground and temperatures more typical of February than late March.  I guess the positive side is that I’m happily inside working on various projects.  I’m catching up on a lot of spinning.  I have a huge stash of wool and am finally making some inroads into it.  I have enough spun now to think about making a couple of sweaters.  It’s really satisfying to be using some of this wool that has been sitting around for far too long.

Spun grey silk-merino

Grey silk-merino mix (1.5 pounds)

Spun Sage Wool

Sage Green Merino (1 pound)

Maroon merino

Maroon merino (.5 pounds)


Maroon merino singles on wheel

Maroon merino singles on the wheel


I’ve also been doing quite a bit of painting, local scenes from here on Cape Cod as well as some scenes from northern VT.  I can’t wait for some sunny warm weather so I can get outside to paint, but until then the regular practice is very good for my painting technique.  I have two paintings ready to go into the “Contrasts” show at the Art Center tomorrow and two more ready for the following show which has the theme “Flora and Fauna”.

Into the Cedar Swamp

Into the Cedar Swamp Oil on Board 12×16


Murkwood Marsh

Murkwood Marsh Oil on Board 16×20


Sunset view of Woods Hole

Sunset view of Woods Hole Oil on Board 12×16


View of Eel Pond

View of Eel Pond Oil on Board 18×24


Woods Hole Street Painting

Captain Kidd Oil on Board 16×20


Cape Turkey painting

Cape Cod Turkey Oil on Board 12×16


Race Point underpainting

Underpainting for a painting of Race Point Light. I just started this one today.


And of course, I’m playing my cello almost every day.  Learning Popper etudes (I’m working on #16) stretches me, but I learn something new every day I work on them.  I have the Allemande and the Bourees from the 3rd suite memorized and am starting to feel more comfortable playing them from memory.  Bach is NOT easy to memorize, his music is so complex.  I’m starting to learn Faure’s Elegy; what a lovely beautiful piece of music.  It’s difficult, but well worth the effort.

Now, let’s see that snow melt and some greenery in the yard.  I’m ready for spring!!!

Another blizzard sparks some inside activities

The wind is howling outside and we have 12 to 14 inches of snow that is piling up in drifts outside.  I know we will have to get outside when the snow starts to taper off, but for now I’m contemplating all the inside activities that this cold, snowy, winter has stimulated.  I finished spinning a grey fleece and am in the process of turning that into a sweater for my husband.  I’m on to a lovely mixed grey fleece that is a combination of merino and silk; it should make a beautiful sweater.  And I’m practicing my cello much more diligently. I have several parts of Bach’s Third Suite memorized, as well as most of the pieces in Suzuki book 7.  They are almost sounding like music.

If the winter keeps on like this, I may catch up on my backlog of beautiful fleece that has been sitting in my chest, just waiting!!  Yes!  Let’s be positive about this very wintery winter.

Grey Sweater in progress

Grey Sweater in progress

Winter is fully here!

While northern Vermont has had its blanket of snow for many weeks, winter announced itself on Cape Cod this week with a full blown blizzard, the fiercest winter storm we’ve had since the big snowstorm of 2005.  We never lost electricity (many people did, including the whole island of Nantucket), but we were kept inside for two days as the wind blew at hurricane force and the snow continued to rain down.  It was useless to try to shovel during the storm as the wind would just blow the light snow back.  I did manage to spin a whole grey fleece that had been sitting beside the spinning wheel and to cook us some tasty winter meals, including a stuffed pork tenderloin.  Because we had electricity we could follow what was happening with the storm; usually we lose electricity in a storm of this intensity.

Yesterday and today we have been digging ourselves out with energy, as we are supposed to get a small storm tomorrow and then a larger one on Sunday evening into Monday.  Our John Deere snowblower was the star of the week, not only plowing our driveway, but those of our neighbors as well.  The snow was dry and easy to shovel, which was lucky because we were dealing with 4 and 5 foot drifts.  Schools are still closed and side roads are snow-covered.  Everything was canceled this week. This was a huge storm.


Snow in the driveway


Looking out the slider to the back deck








Grey Fleece again

Way back in March, I started spinning a grey fleece (2 pounds of top); this week I finally had spun enough (over a pound – four 5 ounce balls) to get started on the fair isle sweater I envisioned.

Spinning Gray Fleece DSCN0018

Here’s the fleece as I started spinning it, along with the blue wool that I’ll be using for some of the contrasting designs.  It’s a great delight to get to the point where you start making something from the wool that you spin.


Here’s the start of the sweater:


Light Alpaca Fleece and the Spring Concert

It took a while to prepare the tan and white alpaca fleece for spinning.  It was very dirty (lots of bits of hay and seeds in addition to general grime), and it took a round of picking as well as careful carding to end up with rolags that were good enough for spinning.  The hardest part was the many short cuts that even the carding didn’t get rid of.  I had to keep pulling them out as I spun (in addition to still picking out debris).  But by the time I had singles spun, it was looking as if the resulting two ply yard would be okay.  I ended up with a 4 ounce skein for myself and a 2 ounce thank you skein for the Art Center.  Not bad for a bit of fleece I almost gave up on.  It will be fine as an accent color in a sweater or hat.  Success!

Alpaca yarn

Singles on the spool and the ball of finished yarn

Tuesday evening was the final concert of the year for the Cape Cod Conservatory String Ensemble.  We played (along with New Cape Music piano quartet) and the Cultural Center of Cape Cod.  This was the longest program we have played (seven pieces, 45 minutes) and I think it was one of our most successful.  This is in spite of not having enough violins and violas for the total group.  We have a great bass section of 4 cellos and 1 bass.

Program 2

Program for the evening

Program 1

The bass section:
bass section

Fiber gifts

Brown Alpacca Alpacca

I stopped over at the art center to find out that they had a surprise for me: someone had donated bags of alpacca fleece to the center for their fiber programs and the director offered me some to try spinning.  The light colored fleece was filled with many ‘short cuts’, but I was able to sort through it and separate out about 6 ounces that I think will spin up acceptably.  The darker brown is already carded and ready to spin; there is about a pound of that ready to be spun.  I’ll see what I can make of it, and donate some of it back to the art center for the weaving class to use.

I’ve tried another Elizabeth Zimmermann baby sweater pattern (a two part sweater from her new garter stitch book).  I picked out some inexpensive acrylic at a local store, thinking that it would be nice to make something machine washable.  The jacket turned out okay, but I sure do prefer working in wool; wool is more elastic and softer.  But the jacket looks fine and I was impressed with the nice garment that resulted.

Finished Baby Jacket