Excellent Time for Another Gifting

Between the excessive amounts of allergy medication and antibiotics I’ve been noticing bursts of crankiness and weird fuzziness. I’m taking a few days away from blogging and thought it’d be a good time for another gifting.

During the fuzziness I apparently ordered a second copy of Keeping A Journal You Love. So in the offering is this book, a journal, and you guessed it a bar of soap! Lavender Cedar this time around, it’s earthy and has extra scrubbiness.

How does one enter you ask? Excellent question –

The gift box will have three contents so there are the three things to enter:

#1 In the comments below respond to this journal prompt “yesterday I heard ______”
#2 Also include in the same comment a link to somewhere you’ve posted about this contest – your blog or online community maybe?
#3 Give a stranger a compliment this week. No need to share it in the comments. I trust you.

(If you don’t have a blog or online community you can email me for an alternative to #2 – hopefully I’ll think of something.)

Wow – no yarn in this one. How’d that happen?

Winner will be chosen by the Random Generator and announced on Friday Sept 4th.

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Shhhhh….

It’s a nice quiet evening – except for the locusts, crickets, and bullfrogs. I’ve been working every day in the studio making a staggering amount of lavender goodies for the fall shows but tonight I managed to get five rows knitted on the Blue Silk Aeolian. The Edging Set up chart is going smoothly and quicker than I thought it would.

Don’t tell anyone – I don’t want to jinx it.

Shhhhhh

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Courtship in Cherokee County

When we moved into the new house back in March we didn’t give much thought to putting up curtains or shades. A perk of living rural and on a large farm is that someone would have to go out of their way to peep in our windows.

Until recently I hadn’t thought of other perks – like drawing spectacular moths at night! You can scroll down a few posts and see a photo Chris took of a visiting Luna Moth recently. Two nights ago we heard another thud as a big moth landed on a glass door in the living room.

Thanks to Kitten with a Whiplash for providing a link to Butterflies and Moths. I emailed the photo below to an Oklahoma researcher and the latest visitor has been identified as an Imperial Moth – Eacles imperialis. The adults emerge before sunrise and mate before midnight the next day. So no time to feed, just a day and a night to dance, flirt, find a handsome stranger, and make babies…

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Fini and Midway

Soap making has finished finally. Over a thousand bars of soap are curing in the studio. People often ask me what I like about making soap – “it’s a mixture of chemistry and cooking” I tell them. Waiting is also a big part of making soap. Waiting patiently for six weeks after cutting the bars until they are ready to take to market, craft fairs, and music festivals is just part of the process.

While the soap is curing it’s time for us to make the other products that we sell, like the smooth and silky Lavender Shea Butter, and the creamy Lavender Lips. Yesterday I finished defoliating the dried bundles so we’ll have a few smudges and logs to sell as well. The buds that I took off the stems will be used in bath salts, eye pillows, and next year’s soap. Yep, we’re planning that far ahead – next year’s soap. But for now, the drying racks in the studio are overflowing.

The Blue Silk Aeolian is nearly mid-way! Making a shawl of this size using one-of-a-kind yarn is all about the math. My very first lace project several years ago was a disaster that taught me a great deal about math when you’re working with a limited amount of “special” yarn. That first project, The Icarus Shawl, has since been frogged and the yarn re-skeined and awaiting it’s next reincarnation. When you cut out charts and repeats and still run out of yarn during the bind off it’s a brutal lesson.

I knitted the Icarus before Ravelry. Having Ravelry as a resource for pattern information has really expanded my knitting skills. There are several groups knitting the Aeolian Shawl by Elizabeth Freeman. And while I’ve already finished one small Aeolian it helps to know how many yards and grams other knitters have used in their completed shawls. While I may be the first to use the MadelineTosh Pure Silk for an Aeolian I can compare similar yarns to find out how many repeats of each chart were knitted, how many grams of yarn were used per chart, how many beads…and so on. An important piece of information is that many knitters are reporting that 60% of the yarn is used in the edging. Sixty Percent!

After each chart repeat now I’m weighing my remaining ball of precious silk yarn. Here are the stats thus far. The original skein had 1000 yards and 100 grams. I tried this yarn on several patterns before finding the perfect match so my starting point is a bit different than someone using a new skein.

I began with 90 grams

After 8 yucca repeats I had 76 grams (84%) remaining

After the transition chart I had 69 grams (76%) remaining

As of last night I have one rest row to knit on the first agave chart before I can weigh the yarn again.
updated to add…
After 1 agave chart I had 64 grams (71%) remaining

So am I midway finished? No.

It’s another midway I’m thinking ahead to. For some crazy reason my goal is to finish the shawl to enter in the Tulsa State Fair, which means I’ve got to have it finished and blocked by mid-September, the nineteenth to be exact. In the meantime I’ve got to find someone to deliver it to the fairgrounds on entry day because we’ll be out of town selling soap! See what I mean about crazy-making?

Progress photo of the Blue Silk later today….or maybe not.

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An Innocent Encounter

After a long morning in the city, I stopped at the little convenience mart in the small town eight miles away from our farm to grab two burgers and an order of fries. I had carried my book in with me, so I took a seat in the narrow booth along the window that provides a view of the gas pumps and the town’s only stop sign. After reading a few paragraphs I heard someone take a seat in the booth behind me.

Halfway through the next paragraph a sweet clear whistling began. It was a mixture of birdcalls, melody and jig. Within minutes I had quit reading just to listen. No longer did I hear the sizzle of burgers on the grill or the cashier making change for fuel purchases – just the tune of a practiced musician with a fanciful nature.

The cashier caught my eye and told me my order was ready. I grabbed the brown bag, already showing a few speckles of grease. But before I left I turned back to the booths, where a man of seventy-five or eighty years sat passively and suddenly quiet. He wore Big Smith overalls, a red ball cap from a tractor supplier, and tinted trifocals. And as I walked up to him he smiled innocently.

“Your whistling has made my day”, I told him.

A little embarrassed he stumbled and said, “I didn’t even realize I was doing it.”

“But I did. Thank you.” Then I turned and walked out to my car.

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Snippet from an email….

While I am neither Catholic nor Christian I do find Gregorian chanting deeply moves my spirit – they are quite trancing. I imagine a whirling dervish has the same effect. Just like hearing the monastery bells while walking by the light of the half moon last night. No lights, no buildings or people visible – just the crickets, bullfrogs and the pealing of bells somewhere in the distance.

As I hit Send – I breathed deeply knowing just how lucky I am to live here in this enchanted place.

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