Fat Cat's Corner

July 21, 2014

Tour de Fleece

Filed under: Actual Spinning, MDS&W, Spinning, Tour de Fleece — Linda @ 6:01 am

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 11.18.34 PMThe annual Tour de Fleece spin-along during the Tour de France. They spin, we spin. A real spinning-themed spin-along. The concept is simple:

Challenge Yourself.  Spin.    Have fun.

This year, the Tour de Fleece starts on Saturday July 5 and runs until Sunday July 27th, 2014.

In the past I have had high ideas of how much I can spin during these 22 days.  I’ve probably over estimated again this year but this is the plan:

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Clockwise starting at 11 o’clock…

Spinning Straw into Silk ‘Steel Blue’ Silk
Corgi Hill Farm ‘Love Potion’ 85-15 Polwarth/Silk
Flying Goat Farm Merino (Verigated Blue)
Fiber Optic Onyx-Crimson Gradient 80-20 Merino/Silk
Widdershin Woolworks 50-50 Yak/Merino (Brown Braid)


First up, from Widdershin Woolworks Yak/Merino

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First thing people ask me about spinning is “Why? Can’t you buy yarn at the store?”  Yes. Yes you can but this is SO FUN!!  Plus I get to use my handspun to knit with.  Double Goodness!

Second thing they ask is “How much yarn do you get from X ounces of fiber?”   It depends on how thin you spin it.  This 4oz braid yielded 260 yards of yarn.

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This is called a single.  Meaning I did not ply it with another strand.  Most commercial yarns are multi-ply.  260 yards is enough to knit a hat or mittens or fingerless gloves, cowl or scarf :)


I’ve just gotten the blue variegated Flying Goat Farm Roving off the wheel now.

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I split the fiber in half and spun the two halves separately and ply them together.  It makes a thicker, more bulky yarn.

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It’s a bit thick & thin but still a very serviceable yarn :)

July 18, 2014

New Hobby

Filed under: Ever Loving Patient Husband, Shooting — Linda @ 5:41 am

ELPH was a Skeet Shooter in college.  He started practicing again last year and has recently begun shooting at the Registered Shoots at our local Gun Club. He shot a 92 out of 100 last week! Not too shabby.

But after soundly whooping him shortly after taking up Pistol shooting a few years ago …

I Win!

I Win!

I thought I’d give him a chance to get reacquainted with Skeet before I tried it :)    After a couple afternoons just watching at the field I decided to give it a go.

And promptly demonstrated how NOT to shoulder a shotgun…

Vera

Vera

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Yea, that’s so not my shoulder.  Don’t do that.  It really did look worse than it felt.  My brother has hit me harder ;-/   Anyway having missed 19 out of 25 shots I still really enjoyed the experience (it’s totally awesome when you hit the clay and it blows up!).  So my Ever Patient Loving Husband (ELPH) bought me my very own shotgun.

It’s a Beretta 692 Over/Under 12 gauge with 28″ barrels.  Isn’t she pretty?!

I call her Vera :D

I am too excited about getting it!!   ELPH even set up with a lesson with Master Instructor Doug Thompson.   Invaluable information & instruction.  So much new information to remember.  I at least know immediately what I’ve done wrong, LOL!   I had the gun about 4 weeks before I was willing to send it off for modifications.  First thing I’m having done is getting an adjustable Buttplate put on it.  It will help me position the stock correctly into my shoulder every time.  Then later I’ll have it fitted with 20 & 28 gauge tubes so I can shoot smaller loads.

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July 16, 2014

Sad and Happy

Filed under: Family, Life, alzheimer's — Linda @ 5:40 am
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April 20 1942 - April 4 2014

My Mom passed away in April.  It was not unexpected.  She hadn’t known any of us in almost 5 years.

We are all grateful that she is at peace.

We gathered in Chicago to Celebrate her Life in early June.

It was a very nice ceremony and many, many of her friends came to remember her.

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Salley, Jay, Moi, Dad & PJ

Salley, Jay, Moi, Dad & PJ

That’s really all I have to say about that.

July 14, 2014

Knock, knock?

Filed under: Actual Crochet, Festivals, Hiking, MDS&W, Maryland Sheep & Wool — Linda @ 5:40 am

Is this thing on?  Hmmm….no posts since May huh?   Looks like I have some catching up to do.  OK then, where were we…..

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I flew into DC to visit my sister Salley and we drove an hour or so up to  West Friendship, MD for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  I  crocheted the Elise Shawl (from Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light) to wear  and received many compliments on it including one from this young Lady:)

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We had a good day at the Fest.  It’s a good sized festival with a TON of  fiber animals.  I picked up some spinning fiber for Tour de Fleece which  started July 5th same as the Tour de France.  The idea is to spin fiber  everyday they ride.  It’s fun and challenges me to spin everyday.

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By May it starts getting too warm (mid 70’s) to hike here in the Upstate.   So the last couple hikes are relatively short or done at higher elevations.  One such hike was Nine Times Nature Preserve in Pickens County.  It’s 4 miles (half the distance we usually average) roundtrip and the first half are almost all up.   But the view made it worth it!  We had lunch and a rest in the shade and the headed back to the cars.

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It was hazy and warm but the view was still amazing and worth the climb.

The very last hike of the season I wouldn’t really call a hike.  We went out to Cowpens National Battlefield.  It’s a level, mostly gravel, 1 mile hiking trail around the field.  It’s a great facility with cannon loading demonstrations, a short movie telling the history, a small gift shop and very helpful, friendly staff.

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Cowpens National Battlefield commemorates a decisive battle that helped turn the tide of war in the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. On this field on January 17, 1781, Daniel Morgan led his army of tough Continentals, militia, and cavalry to a brilliant victory over Banastre Tarleton’s force of British regulars. The battle at the “Cow Pens,” one of only a few successful double envelopments in history, is recognized by historians as one of the most important of the American Revolution.Coming on the heels of a patriot victory at nearby Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780, Cowpens was the second successive staggering defeat for British forces under General Charles Cornwallis. Only nine months after the battle, Cornwallis was forced to surrender his army to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781. “


And that bring us to June…………

May 12, 2014

Elise Shawl

Filed under: Actual Crochet, Ravelry — Linda @ 6:28 am

I know, I know, I’ve been posting more hiking than yarn related projects.  I left the work force a year ago April and I have no idea how I managed to work 8 hours a day and get everything else done AND have time to crochet/knit.  But look at this, actual crochet!  This is the Elise Shawl and it’s available free on Ravelry.

Complete

A friend of mine made one of these for me a few years ago and I love it!  And I’ve wanted to make one myself ever since.  I used one skein (420 yards) of Tosh Merino Light from Madelinetosh in Scarlet.  It’s an easy pattern although the wording was a bit confusing to me but the chart was perfectly clear.  Once you reach row four it becomes a two row repeat and very easy.

This triangular shawl pattern is worked from the center out and can be made smaller using less yarn or larger by adding more yardage.

Unblocked

Unblocked

After I got past the first six rows it went really quickly.   I probably could have completed it on one day.

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If I weren’t so easily distracted :)

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I just love how this blocked out.

CompleteI might just have to make another one :D


May 9, 2014

Nine Times Preserve Hike

Filed under: Hiking — Linda @ 2:06 pm

I always wonder how places get there names.

Nine Times got its name because Northern timber barons had to throw nine bridges across a small creek to get their railroad line in to access the land.”

Well.  There ya are.  And there we were.  Eleven of us headed out from the cool, shady parking turnout about 9:30 on a steady uphill trek.  This part of the trail is never very steep but never gives you a break either.  It’s only about 150′ elevation change but like I said, never a break in the up hill.  As we started we quickly generated our own heat and the humidity of the day started to rise as well.  We came across some pretty wild geraniums and trillium near the creek.

Wild Geranium

Wild Geranium

Mountain Laurel was the most prolific bloomer we encountered on this day.  The shrubs were over six feet high and the flowers lovely although these had no scent.

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

At the granitic dome some were disappointed that the Fringe trees (Chionanthus virginicus) had finished flowering. Some of us didn’t know we were looking for them :)   The trees were surrounding the edges of the rock but most of the flowers were gone.  There was lots of Prickly Pear and Yucca but not in flower.  A few of us wandered on the dome for a short time while some us rested.  The temperature was in the mid 70’s but the humidity must have been high as we were all sweat marked when we removed our packs.  We didn’t linger long here, just long enough for a decent rest from our uphill trek and some photo ops.

Summit

Summit

On the way down to the cars we found this guy trying to climb a very steep embankment.  As he was going nowhere fast and had a high probability of tumbling down and landing on his back, we gave him a boost.

Box Turtle

Box Turtle

By 11:00 we headed were headed over to Keowee-Toxaway State Park where we found a cool lunch spot at the covered picnic tables.   When the resident retired doctor asks if you feel OK it’s generally not a good sign.  I was done for the day.  Several others had wilted as well and decided to call it a day but Harry and the hardier hikers proceeded to the Natural Bridge Trail where, I trust, the fun continued.

Nine Times is not a bad hike really and one of our shorter ones at 3.7 miles round trip.  There is a great variety of flowers, trees and ferns and a terrific view of Pickens from the dome on top.

Check out the map and stats from this trip here.

April 28, 2014

Reedy Cove Creek, Twin Falls Hike

Filed under: Good Friends, Hiking — Linda @ 6:22 am

Bob's Place

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This hike is not far from where I live, just over in the next county. The trailhead is easily missed if you drive too fast or don’t know what you’re looking for.  After taking Hwy 11 east, turn north on 178 and continue until you see Bob’s Place and the Road-Kill Grill. on the corner of 178 & .  Bear left there onto Cleo Chapman Hwy and about half a mile up on the right is a small gravel turn off with a red metal gate and a teeny tiny sigh high up in a tree “Twin Falls Trail”.  That’s the place.

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Nine of us entered into the cool Spring woods.  You never knew there were so many different shades of green!  Almost immediately we started seeing a variety of wildflowers.  Lots of exclamations of “Ooh, ooh!”  from the front of the single file line and calls to Talley or Brenda to help identify the plants.  Then there was the obligatory snapshot by almost every one in the line, LOL!

Squawroot

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The first was for a fine display of Squawroot.  From Wikipedia – “Conopholis americana, American cancer-root or squawroot or bear corn is a perennial, non-photosynthesizing parasitic plant, native but not endemic to North America and when blooming, resembles a pine cone or cob of corn growing from the roots of mostly oak and beech trees.”  It was pretty cool looking.  At first it looks kinda mushroom like because it has no chlorophyll so it isn’t green.

Foam Flower & Discolor Trillium

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Another notable find were large patches of Trillium Discolor which we learned are rare although numerous within the limited area of it’s distribution.  It is limited to habitat draining into the Savannah River basin and the Eastatoe River does.  I also learned that the creek that runs down below this trail and eventually becomes Twin Falls is called Reedy Cove Creek.

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We heard numerous different birds singing unless we heard the creek which drowned out the birdsong as we approached the Falls.  I wish I could identify them by their song.  The trail is a single file path with good footing and few roots and toe stumpers which skirts the steep inclineTrail Hazard down to the creek. There were several areas of downfall which Harry helped us over or under.

Lunch Stop

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We reached the top of the falls at about 11:00 but the trail at the very top was not passable to us over 50 crowd so we back tracked a short distance, climbed over some rocks to find a pleasant lunch spot down by a quiet pool to take our lunch break.

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During lunch I think it was Brenda who found “Jake the Rat snake” digesting a very large meal.  Rat Snake digesting his lunchHe/she was full grown, probably a good 5 feet long or better.  The are non-venomous, decent climbers and eat rodents, birds, eggs and lizards.  This snake could very well have had squirrel for lunch!

Rails in Creek

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Also notable around the area of the top of the falls were old twisted abandoned railroad tracks surrounded by blooming foam flowers and Trillium Discolor

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This time of year lots of things are blooming; Dwarf Crested Iris, every tree was a different color green! Fairy Wand, Resurrection Ferns growing on fallen deadwood, Pussy Toes almost looked like dandelions gone to seed, Northern Maidenhair Fern and Discolor Trillium.  With all this to see and photograph it took us 4 hours to hike 4 miles.

Twin Falls Trail

The inclines are not terribly steep and although it seemed we did a lot of downhill on the way in, (which you know how much I love) coming out didn’t seem too strenuous.

Tree says "My Rock!"

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We returned to the cars and followed Cleo Chapman a short ways into the Eastatoe Valley.  Such a pretty little valley it is too.  Down Waterfall Rd to the end past all the private property is a small parking area.  A short walk took us to the coveredJack in the Pulpit viewing platform where you can sit and view Twin Falls from the bottom.

This path also was filled with wildflowers.

White Trillum.

Twin Falls

I thought the first part of the trail would be tougher but with all the photo stops we took I think that made it easier.  It was a great day to be hiking!

April 21, 2014

Actual Crochet

Filed under: Actual Crochet, Family, Good Friends, Life — Linda @ 1:37 pm

CD

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This is my beautiful, sweet, very dear friend “C”  nine months pregnant.

She gained like 6 ounces during pregnancy.  OK maybe more but she still fit in size TWO!  X-SMALL!  maternity clothes.  If she wasn’t the nicest, sweetest, most gracious person I know I’d probably hate her.  Kidding! Sorta.

And yes, she always looks this great.  Always.

C&C

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Just a couple days after that photo was taken she brought home this tiny (5lb), sweet, Southern Angel.   See how great “C” looks?  This photo was probably taken after the four A.M. feeding and she looks better than I would  after a million dollar make-over.

But I digress.  So! she brings this Sweet Angel home and slips her in one of her sweet new baby outfits.  And that’s when she realized something was terribly wrong.  Not with the baby, with the baby’s wardrobe!  This brand new, precious Southern Belle was seriously lacking in head bows!

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It was so embarrassing Baby Girl didn’t even want to show her face in public.  This child needed some bows.  Big Southern Bows and she needed them  STAT!   What’s a Mama to do?   Well she did the only thing she could do…put out a “Hair Bow Emergancy” call on Facebook of course!

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As soon as I heard the Call I grabbed a hook, dove into my yarn stash and logged into Ravelry for a Big Hair Bow pattern and came up with this.  >>>

With Mama’s enthusiastic approval I made a few more.

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A Proper Southern Belle will have a matching bow for every outfit, don’t ya know :)

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Then I made plans to deliver them.  I just couldn’t wait to hold that bitty Baby Girl!   And hold her I did.  For the entire visit.  What a sweet, sweet baby she is.  Baby Girl loved her new bows!

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But I wasn’t the only friend who answered the Big Hair Bow Emergancy Call.  Take a look at these Fascinators!

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Isn’t she precious?     I’ll have to make some more for Baby Girl and maybe some matching ones for Mama and Big Sister.  New Baby Smell.  Got to be the best smell in the world :D

April 10, 2014

Historic Oconee Station & Station Cove Falls Hike

Filed under: Hiking, Skinny Dog, South Carolina, Spring — Linda @ 6:32 am

I haven’t been to Oconee Station in almost eight years, so when the HHHikers decided to hike a moderately strenuous trail in Dupont Forest, I whimped out.  I wanted to see more Spring flowers than I thought would yet be available at Dupont so took my dog and my camera and headed out.

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I’d forgotten what a beast she can be on the leash, it was exhausting.  It’s all my fault as I haven’t taken the time to properly leash train her.  Much to my relief, she did sit and not jump on passers-by when I ask her to.


It’s a popular hike,

Yellow Trillium

Yellow Trillium

a little over 3 miles round trip from the Historical Station

Station Cove Falls

Station Cove Falls

to the Falls and back.

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It took about 2 hours with lots of stops for sniffs & flower photos.

Trillium and Fiddlehead Ferns

Trillium and Fiddlehead Ferns

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I went on a Thursday and met a large group of OLLI hikers and several smaller pods of intense photographers.

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The trail is well maintained and well marked.  I remember having to bushwhack through to the falls about 8 years back but all is nice and tidy now.

Lots of flowers; trillium, bloodroot, violets and anenome.  Trees are starting to bud out too.
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It wasn’t hot but is was warm for hiking.  My girl does like to cool off in the water:)
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March 28, 2014

Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve

Filed under: Hiking — Linda @ 4:23 pm

Well obviously I’m doing more hiking than I am crochet or knitting.  I really need to finish some WIP’s and get them posted.  In the mean time…hiking.

This week eight Happy Hugger Hikers explored Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve.  This 1,886 acre preserve is located near Landrum in Greenville County.  When we pulled into the parking lot there was a large group of 25 OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) hikers getting ready to hit the trail.  We let them get a few minutes head start and I started my EveryTrail app before we started after them.  The first mile and a half is a relatively flat footpath through new growth forest.  The trail is slightly sandy and very easy on the feet and there are two bridges that cross a small creek.  From about the 1.5 mile point the trail starts it’s gradual ascent up the side of Squirrel Mountain.  It flattens out, starts up and flattens out to an elevation of about 1,300ft before descending  via switchback & stairs to the South Pacolet River three and one half miles in.  At the river the OLLI group had the best lunch seating (first come first served) so we sat a little further along on some nice fallen logs.

Spring was springing this trip and we saw fields & fields of trillium,

Field of Trillium

Field of Trillium

blooming wild Ginger,

Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger

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Blooming Wild Ginger

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a few bloodroot, which is a popular red natural dye used by Native Americans and natural artists.  A break in the surface of the plant, especially the root reveals a reddish sap.

Bloodroot

Bloodroot

one lonely Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

some Fiddlehead Ferns

Fiddlehead Ferns

Fiddlehead Ferns

patches of Spring Beauty,

Spring Beauty

Spring Beauty

and one Yellow Trillium.

Yellow Trillium

Yellow Trillium

By far the most abundant plant this trip was the Sweet Betsy Trillium.

Sweet Betsy Trillium

Sweet Betsy Trillium

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Boulder outcrops, mature chestnut oaks and good winter views.

South Pacolet River

South Pacolet River

In a few weeks you won’t be able to see through the trees.

South Pacolet River

South Pacolet River

This hike was 6.7 miles round trip and at our leisurely photographing pace took us 3.5 hours to complete.

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