Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bee Swarm

Early yesterday afternoon we noticed a bee swarm had formed in the backyard in the hummingbird bush.  We already have a hive in the cinderblock wall behind the house, so we are used to seeing bees.  But this was a lot of bees.

There was a little activity but mostly they seemed to be quiet.  As the day ended, the swarm had gotten a lot larger.

They were moving around but not flying a lot.  I became concerned since the evenings are cool and we had a big bee die-off about a year ago that was horrible.  I checked in on them around 10 PM and they seemed OK.  This morning they are still there, and flying around a little.  It's going to be a lot warmer today, so maybe they will figure it out.

I have been dyeing over the outdoor firepit for the last two nights, after the coals have developed.  I am dyeing gray Coopworth roving that I purchased at the Vista Fiber Arts event in October.  I did not get too ambitious; I just used some red dye bath I had prepared, and sprinkled in some other purple - lilac - and blue dye powder.  I used the enamel tamale pot that is reserved for dyeing, suspended about a foot over the coals.  It came to a boil very quickly (much more quickly than a hot plate).  Photos to follow when the roving has dried.

I am knitting some cuffs using a wonderful merino sock yarn from Claudia Hand Painted Yarns.  The color is Passion Fruit. I've had it for years but it's only 50 grams so socks would have been very challenging.  Each cuff uses about 15 grams so I will have enough with a little left over.  I finished one and started the other.

The pattern is from Knitting Traditions, and was designed for color changes. Since this yarn has a lot of color going on, I just knit it by itself.  The finished one is very comforting, and I wore it most of yesterday afternoon.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cold Weather in San Diego

Before leaving on our short vacation in late January, I attended an event at The Grove in South Park.  The event was a trunk show for shawl pins made by Fiber to Fabric Magic.  The shawl pins are two-sided, and can come with two rings for many wearing variations.  Cleverly, the pin itself is ribbed so it won't fall out.  Many of the wood pieces were rescued from the Cedar Fire, which swept through eastern San Diego County in 2003.  See for yourself at

Although the last thing in the world I need is more yarn, some fantastic blue hand dyed yarn caught my eye.  It is calm, by dream; the color is Blue Fish. The website is   It was very indigo looking to me, with hints of green.  I bought two skeins and began planning for a travel knit project.  And of course, I wanted something that I could wear with my new shawl pin.

I wanted curved ends, a bit of lace, and garter stitch.  So I knitted the two ends to the middle (so they would be the same), then put them together with a three needle bind off.  I used the two skeins so the ends are complementary, but different.  The scarf is long enough to wrap around my neck and overlap on my chest.  It's wide enough to bunch up cozily around my neck.  Just right and I have been wearing it for days.  I mostly knitted it in the car on the way up and back, and a bit in the motel.  Stress free knitting, that is what I am all about.

I have an idea how to make it a little lacier for warmer weather, using garter stitch lace patterns.  I like garter stitch patterns for scarves and wraps, because I want both sides to be the same so I don't have to worry about how the item is arranged.

I did finish the red rebozo in time to take it on the trip.  I wore it all the time in the car and while wine tasting. It is plenty long to wrap around.  Photos to come.