Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Almost Spring!

This year the weather has been so unpredictable.  With the never-ending winter, any sunshine is welcome.  April is traditionally the month of severe storms, and lots of rain.  We have had some storminess, but a good amount of rain.  Last year we had snow for the first time ever in May. 

So I have company coming over the weekend.  My cousin is making his annual visit and we always go to Grove, OK to visit his family property that he and his sister own.  Once we roll into town, I stop at the big convenient store by the WalMart and get a drink and to go to the bathroom. 

Then we head to the cemetery to visit his family there.  I love to drive around cemeteries.  I know it is a Southern 'thing', but I love to read headstones.  I found one some years ago in the Grove cemetery that I loved.  The woman has not died yet, but her stone is a double one with her husbands.  His side has his pertinent information, but the most interesting thing is the carving of wood tools.  Her side has a shuttle.  I think this is a grand way to be remembered.  A woodworker and a weaver-side-by-side through eternity.

I am stuck on the fancy sweater.  It has a complex way to add on the sleeves, and I am not sure I understand it.  I asked my friend CJE to read it, and I think we both concluded the same solution.  I am just not sure it is the right solution. 

I have finished one of the red socks that a friend wants me to make.  I also started a scarf with some handspun yarn that I am doing in a chevron pattern.  It isn't fancy.  I wanted to do a cable pattern, but had some difficulty following the chart.  I started over with a lacy pattern, but I kept losing stitches.  After these two failures, I cast on the garter stitch chevron pattern in my head.  It isn't fancy, but it is textural.

I walked into my sewing room this morning, and it felt sad.  I have ignored my sewing for way too long.  I have to finish the two quilts I have started.  I don't think I have procrastinated so long before on these projects.  I usually like to sew in the summer and it will be here sooner than I think.

I have also been dyeing two summer dresses with the Steep and Store method of India Flint.  I took one out of the jar last weekend and it looks good.  I have to make some darts and modifications to the top.  I am sorta in the mood to embellish it some with some embroidery.  The other one is still steeping.  It is always a surprise when one dyes this way. 

Two years ago I tried compost dyeing.  I left compost, fabric, iron bits, and leaves in my iron pot on the deck.  I did not remove anything until the winter was over.  I like some of the fabric a lot.  I am having fun with all this stuff anyway.  It is a more ecological way to dye, but it takes a lot longer to do than the traditional heat and serve method.

My girlfriend CF says her first sentinel hummingbird has arrived.  Whew!  My other birds will not like it if I take down any of their feeders.  I remember last year I waited until a week after she saw her scout, and that water I put up soured.  I think it is more like two weeks after her report that I start getting the early arrivals here. 

The rebuds are blooming finally.  The forsythia is on the last few days of its bloom.  Leaves are sprouting all over that.  The weigeilia is leafing out.  The red buckeyes have huge leaves and flowers are coming on.  The hollyhocks are about a foot high.  They need to be sprayed soon.  The daffodils are done.  I always leave the green shoots for a long time to give the bulbs time to feed.  The bachelor buttons are popping up all over the yard. So all signs of early Spring.

I am hopefully on the final editing of my book.  I am so sick of these stories.  I have learned that I have to read everything very, very, very carefully.  The editor misses some things.  I will be happy to be done and on to printing.

So I am feeling guilty.  I need to clean the house a little bit today.  I will start by washing dishes and sweeping the floor.  That helps. 

Have a good week.  Don't put sweaters away yet. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

What A Roller Coaster!

Some days there is sunshine and warmth; some days there are clouds, rain, and coolness.  Today is the latter.

My friends CJE and AE took the maps that have been sitting in my kitchen.  I had seven sacks of maps from my friend G's file cabinets when I cleaned out his house.  So I finally decided that my so-called help was not coming.  I sorted through the sacks one by one.  I now have two sacks of recycling material.  I had two sacks I burned.  That left four sacks of maps left.  They  now have them and the wall maps that were standing propped against the wall.

I have been going through a strange bit of not sleeping.  It is very strange to go through my day groggy and discombobulated.  At bedtime I am so tired and sleepy.  Then I lay there thinking and thinking and thinking.  I eventually get up, go to the bathroom, and rearrange the bed covers.  I tell myself that it is 12:30 am and you have got to go to sleep.  So I lay there and lay there. 

Of course, the animals still get up at their usual time.  And I go through another groggy day.

I finally got one shoulder grafted correctly on the medieval sweater.  It is not as perfect as the messed up one.  I don't care at this point.  It is done.  I have knitted a bit on the socks.  I have knitted a bit on a bookmark.  That's it.  I am not inspired.

I finished replying the yarn that I am going to do something to it.  CJE came over Friday, and she felt the color was beautiful as is.  So that's two people that like it anyway-counting myself of course.

I have been doing some writing.  I have a new story going through my head, and I have done a bit of research.  Finally I sat down today to begin.  "The new story" is the part I like.  I don't like having to go back and flesh things out and edit things out.  I like the new story to flow out of my head.

Otherwise there is nothing new to tell.  Another week of weather blahs.  Hope things get better.  Of course, we are now starting our Spring storm season.  I am sure that will be the topic of interest now.

Have a great week.  Hope to have more cheery news next time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Come On Spring!

This is the hardest part of the Spring awakening.  It is only March, and it is almost April.  Some daffodils are blooming.  So-why is it still so blasted cold?  Then I try to remember that the blasted cold of April is not the blasted cold of February.  My mind is not so plastic any more.  I want sunshine, flowers, and warmth.  Sigh!

I have finally returned to the Starry Sky sweater from Medieval-Inspired Knits.  I cut the armhole steeks and now will graft the shoulders.  Then arms added.  I am so slow knitting this.  I am trying to not beat myself over the head for being so slow.  It is a very complicated pattern, and I am so OCD about making sure I do everything correctly. 

When my friend passed away, I had so much on my plate to clean out his house, put things in storage, sort maps that were in a file cabinet and now are in sacks, and just dealing with legal matters.  Now that my part is complete (except sorting maps), I can return to my normal knitting routine.

I am knitting on a pair of socks for a customer, but otherwise, no knitting in this house.  I found a new website called Creative Bug.  There are a lot of classes that I want to take there.  The prices are more reasonable than Craftsy.  So yesterday I sat down with Brandon Mobley and learned how to do his magic-ball trick.  My selection of yarns wasn't as exciting as his.  Duh!  I do like the idea he conveyed.  Not difficult to do, just a little tedious.  It is a way to control the colorways that one can't control with Noro or Freia yarns.

I have not been a very spinnery mood lately.  I finally decided to take a skein of my yarn that was not attracting anyone's attention.  I am replying it, and I am thinking of dyeing it another color.  I am famous for overdyeing something.   I have always told folks, "If you don't like the color, dye it another color." 

This is a horrible snapshot of the pastel cardinal I have been watching for a coupla months.  This is the first time she has been so close.  I know the screening distorts it, but I wanted to prove she is still around.  Where the brown should be, it is a pale beige color.  Her red parts are salmon pink.  I call her Blondie.  I notice that she is still not accepted by the others.I guess that catches us up.  Our Mirkwood group had its Meat Fest on Saturday.  Of course, it had to rain, but Parker and others still started a bonfire for all the kids.

Have a good week.  Do the Happy Spring Dance and maybe it will get warm sooner.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Whew! We are almost to Spring!

We have some delightful days of warmer weather.  When the cold comes, it doesn't stay as long.  When it is supposed to snow, it doesn't last as long.  Yes, I remember that last year it snowed in May.

I have been piddling along on the medieval sweater.  I really haven't done much knitting at all.  I don't know why, I am just tired of it at the moment.

I haven't really been spinning, either.  I finished the pink yarn, and that was it.  Done for a while.

What have I been doing?  Writing.  I submitted a manuscript to a publishing company, and it was accepted.  So began the long and tedious editing part.  We are really close now.  The cover art is almost done.  I have two folks who have agreed to endorse the book.  And then the fun really begins.

So when time comes, I will be sure to let everyone know what is happening.  I am not looking forward to the marketing part, but it is part of the package deal.  Sigh!

I have also been extremely busy cleaning out my friend's home that is a total mess.  He died in January, the attorney/executor hasn't filed the estate, and it is a crazy mixed up mess.  The owner of the cabin is also a friend of mine, and he has been reaching out to me to help.  So for three awful days I got to help box and sort and get everything in storage.  And the house was a total filthy awful place.  I half expected that a t.v. show would be filming this for Hoarders.  I am almost done with the things that are in my home.  Friends are going to sort the maps tomorrow.  All seven sacks of them!

So I have created a new website, and I hopefully have this blog connected to it.  This is my first experiment to see.  It wears me out mentally to spend so much time trying to figure things out.  I am exhausted.

My friend CJE's mother is in the hospital again.  She has pneumonia, but the medication they are given her causes her blood sugars to soar to unbelievable heights.  I told her today her mother may have a stroke with the blood sugars so high. 

Otherwise, I am still trying to enjoy the sun when we have it.  Today is overcast, but warm.  We are supposed to have gobs of rain tonight, and a cold front will turn it to snow tomorrow.  We will see.
I am not going to get too excited.

So I am going to close now and see if this posts on my new website.  Crazy, huh?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Finished Just In Time For Spring

This is Mr. Greenjeans from Knitty.com.  It is merino roving with some alpaca added in for more softness and airiness.  It is really a deep burgundy color.  There is black and other colors added to darken the color.  It was a top down raglan shaped shoulder.  I made the sleeves three-quarter for my own personal choice.  It was an easy pattern.  It just took me longer to make it because of the craziness in my life this winter.

It feels like I lost two months or more of my life this winter with GO's illness and death.  I am still moving along on the other sweater.  I am now shaping the back neckline.  About three more rows on that.  Then put the shoulder stitches on holders.  Then finally I can cut the steek on the armhole and start the arms.  Yeah!  So, yes, moving along.

I finished the pretty pink yarn.  I will wind the final bobbin on the skein holder and then wash and block that and be done.  It was a joy to spin.  BFL and silk are two of my favs.

We got another cold spell with ice, sleet and snow.  I am so ready for this to be over and done.  I am ready for Spring.  I have begun digging up the front flower bed and trying to get grass out of it.  It is a chore that I don't like.

This past weekend we began the dirty, nasty, odious chore of cleaning out GO's cabin.  I am now aware that I really didn't know him at all.  He was very secretive, and even though I have know him  for twenty-five years, I still am amazed at the hording and clutter and mess.  I don't think he ever cleaned.

So now I am down to one knitting project.  A customer in Little Rock wants some red socks.  I have ordered some yarn, but nothing else planned.  I guess I should just concentrate on the medieval sweater and get it done.  Soon I will not be interested in knitting as much, and I would like that sweater finished.

CJE has two sick mamas in her house.  H is feverish, dehydrated, and not eating.  She thinks she has won the lottery.  C started with a sore throat and is now having a respiratory infection.  I don't know how she does it.

So now I will go open the front blinds and knit on my hard sweater.  I use my insulated blinds when it is really cold.  Which it is right now.

Keep warm.  Keep going.  Winter does have to end sometime, doesn't it?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Blogger is not happy!

I am not sure if this will post.  It seems Blogger is unhappy.  Poor thing.  Too much work for a silly program to handle, I guess.

We have had a miraculous warm up that makes me happy.  I have been working in the yard doing all sorts of Spring cleaning.  I have the weedeater running, and I trimmed the holly bushes/trees.  That was a hard job that took three days.  It only takes me three days because I am old and have to rest more than I used to.

I also made a monumental decision to dig out the front flower bed and start over.  My friend that passed away had a certain garden tradition.  He always, always dug a huge, huge hole.  He would sift and sift and stir around the dirt and play in the dirt for a long while.  Then he would decide what had to be planted and get on with that chore.  This is my modified version of that. 

As I mentioned I am getting old.  I have to rest.  I am doing the digging by hand, not machine.  I am tired of my annual digging out the Johnson grass.  It seems to flourish more when I thin it out.  So this year I thought, "Why are you doing this year after year?"  So the smart thing is dig out the bed and start over.  UGHHH!

I did beg for help from a friend that is in his 50's that does yard work for a friend of mine.  He is supposed to come on Tuesday.  Of course, the weather man says we have a chance of rain.  We will see.  I may have a swimming pool.

I am puttering around with the knitting.  I made a decision to quit the baby blanket and mail it on.  So I got ambitious and finished the red sweater up to the knitted band around the front and neck.  I have it cast on, just not finished.  I have done two or three rows on the medieval sweater.  That's it. 

I finished one skein of pretty pink merino/tussah silk.  The other bump sat languishing for a few days.  Today I divided it out and I almost finished the first bobbin of that.  So soon I will have a lovely batch of pink/green yarn.

Not a lot to say.  It's almost always the same thing every day.  I am most grateful and appreciative for the warm up this week.  I know the rest of the mid states and the eastern seaboard are covered.  We are to get a cold front tomorrow that will bring us to the mid 40's again.  Sigh!  A sample of Spring to come I guess. 

Soon it will be March.  Hard to believe.  Once we get through March, the weather is usually more forgiving.  Of course, we have no idea what this winter will be doing.  I almost think we will have snow in March.  We had it in May of last year.  The first time ever recorded.  Crazy stuff.

My niece is due to have her baby any minute now.  I am anxious for her to move along and start the next phase.  She is never one to wait around and be patient, so these last few weeks have been misery for her.  She can't sleep, she is uncomfortable, etc.  We've all been there.

That's about all.  I took the critters for their yearly check ups and shots.  Patty has lost more weight and is at a good place now.  I just have to maintain it.  They are both doing well for older pets.  They rest a lot, too.

Have a great rest of the weekend.  Enjoy the sunshine when it comes your way.  It's so wonderful!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Rough Week!

This is the highlight of the week.  I read about a technique of putting some roving wetted with vinegar and water into a large resealable plastic bag.  Then you apply the dye randomly to various parts of the roving, squeezing the dye into the roving to saturate the thickness, and when completed seal the bag tightly.  Plop this into a pan of water that is no hotter than 180 degrees.

I wasn't happy with one color, so I mixed a little bit of another color into the cup.  That gave me the green turquoise color.  The yellow wasn't very strong, so I added some orange, and I got a lovely golden yellow.  The red is actually a soft adobe red and not as pink as it shows here. 

I am over the moon happy with the results.  I only did a 4oz sample to try it out.  I did not want to ruin any of my good BFL if it didn't work right.  I think this is a keeper technique for small batches of color.  It would not work so easily for a large batch of dyeing.

The rest of the week has been sitting and thinking and sitting and thinking.  I am finally grieving for the loss of my friend.  It has been really rough with crying and snorting and blowing my nose.  On top of that I got a bill for my bone scan.  It seems Medicare denied payment, and I will not drag all the nonsense of the conversation out. 

And other financial things came up this week.  I had to decide to prioritize what I could deal with emotionally, and the financial things came out last.  So I will deal with them later.

I have hardly knit a stitch.  I did get the baby quilt to a point of sewing on binding.  I am happy with that.  My niece showed pics today of her baby shower, and I did not see a single handmade thing there.  Sigh!

I am on the last ball of yarn for her baby blanket I am knitting.  I like it.  It looks like water to me.  Or at least it has the visual texture that reminds me of water.  Whichever it is. 

The birds are eating me out of house and home.  They are regular piggies these days.  It is going to get cold and yucky this week with snow, sleet, ice, freezing rain, or something.  So they are dealing with the weather by just eating.  I bought a new suet feeder and that is the hit of the week. Even the cardinals are eating suet.  I have never seen cardinals eat suet. 

Noodles has been limping along on his gimpy leg for a coupla days.  I guess he has arthritis where the bone was broken.  He isn't hunting as much, but I do see him outside staring into the grass on the hillside.  He is ready if anything moves.

I guess that's it.  Nothing earth shaking going on.  Just dealing with this weird extreme weather is tiring.  I just refuse to whine any more about it.