Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ah! The Sun Is Shining!

This is only the beginning of late Fall, early Winter.  We have had snow.  I know it wasn't a lot of snow, but what little bit is on the leaves in the shady parts of the yard are still there.  It is also windy.
This is not my favorite time of year-can you guess?

I am making a very emotional decision to sell my Ashford spinning wheel.  A young woman from Joplin is coming on Saturday to look at it and to try it out.  I know it will go home with her.  I am very emotionally tied to this wheel.  It feels good on a gut level to send it home with her.  She is a beginner and it is a basic wheel. 

Because it will be gone soon, I am trying really hard to finish up the blue yarn I have and get it plied.  I have been plying on the Woolee Winder that is on the Ashford.  It is faster and more efficient than the way I would do it on the Sequoyah.  An inconvenience for the short time until Saturday, but do-able.

I am also knitting on the red sweater.  It is about nine inches from the ribbing.  It is actually looking like something now.  I started a pair of handspun, handknit socks that I am doing for a friend as a surprise.  She spotted the yarn at some point and said, "Those look like socks to me."  It didn't sell at the fiber show, so she is getting a pair of socks.  The colorway is coming out stripes, which surprised me.  I don't remember plying stripes.  Oh, well, still pretty.

My friend YC lost her close friend today after two weeks in the hospital.  She went into organ failure last week, but was holding herself together until her mother could get there.  Such a time of transitions for everyone.

Patty goes to the groomer tomorrow.  I am thrilled.  She has such wiry hair, and I noticed that some of the curly stuff was in her eyes.  Time to get a trim.

We are supposed to get some warmer weather by the end of the week.  It is still below normal for this time of year, but I will imagine it is warmer than the 10 degrees this morning.

I have finally sorted and disposed of the last three boxes from my friend's storage unit.  It was bothering me to walk around the stuff and the smell was aggravating my sinuses.  I know it was the right thing when a HUGE brown recluse spider crawled of a box of letters I stirred up.  I sprayed it with ant/roach spray.  And I burned that mess right away.

Not anything else to report.  I think my neighbor is finally on the mend from her foot surgery.  She isn't very strong, and the walker is hurting her arms.  She went to the doctor to get stitches out yesterday and I haven't checked in on her.  I imagine they are tired of my bringing food over, but poor husband is trying to do everything in the house. 

So back to spinning pretty blue yarn.  It is so lovely in the sunlight.

Have a good week.  Stay warm.  Put on your woolies.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's Gray-It's Chilly-It's Just November Already!

I have been working around the yard trying so hard to clean up.  I will say my yard is a mess.  A friend said it best, "Your yard is feral."  Oh, well, that's the way it is.  I have been picking up things left lying around and put my tools away in their little shed.  I have run the gas through the lawnmowers to put gas stabilizers in the engines. 

I also picked up and swept the deck.  I put the indigo buckets and the dyeing jars under the table.  I have the big ole iron pot tipped over. 

Inside I have also been nesting, trying to get the toys situated in the rooms and by the chairs that I want them.  I feel like Goldilocks with my new e-spinner.  I think I have finally settled on a chair and a small bench to place it.  It seems to work well so far.

It is strange, isn't it, to have a spinning project in the studio and in the living room.  Nice!

Patty is looking like a poor wooly dog.  I really should break down and take her to a groomer for a little trim.  Noodles is in snuggle mood.  If I am sitting he wants in my lap.  If I get up, he snuggles in the warm spot.  I placed a felted wooly thing in the bottom of a basket, and he is there at the moment.

I think the majority of the cleaning out of my friend's storage units is done.  There is a little bit of nothing left in one unit.  JH helped me recyle almost all the rest of the books and National Geographics.  All the metal stuff is recycled.  Whew!  Just some burning left to do.

A friend's landlord makes extra money by selling used appliances-washers, dryers, air conditioners, etc.  He was able to get one of the old washers inside tub for me.  I am going to make it into a fire pit for this winter.  I like to sit by the fire and watch the flames.  It will be nice when I finish it.

So all the preparation is almost done now to settle in for the winter and the winter projects.  I am knitting a simple easy top-down raglan sleeve cardigan.  I am on the body of that now.  Then I have to decide what to do for my winter project.  I don't think it will be as complicated as last year's.

The birds are into full-fledge feeding at the three feeders.  It took some time to get the suet going, but I noticed two Downey's fighting yesterday and then the winner gorging on the suet.  It is a sign that the weather has turned.

I am spinning some yarn for me.  I love the subtle coloring of the deep steel gray with slips of reddish pink, yellow, and teeny bit of green.  I think it has to be something for me.  I also saved some purple for another something.  So the spinning is for me right now.

I have discovered a sight on Facebook that auctions fibers periodically.  I won two a while back, but only 4 ozs of each.  The last one I bid on is two skeins of orange-y colorway.  I am spinning one of the first ones, and it is really pretty.  I am imagining it to be a chevron patterned scarf.  I think it will be pretty that way.  4 oz should be adequate for a scarf.

Nothing else new.  Just a little chat for the week.  Have a great rest of the week.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Time To Change-Time To Prepare

We finally had our first hard freeze two nights ago.  On Facebook folks are posting their first snows.  Ugh!  I am so not ready for that at all.

This week has been the week I have begun to get ready.  I put gas stabilizer in the two mowers and ran them to get the engines ready for the winter.  I put them under the back deck and covered them.
I will put one more tarp over the two of them, but for now they are almost ready.

I moved the tool shed this morning and I gathered up all the various yard tools that needed to be put away.  I put the watering can in there too. 

Yesterday I rearranged the living room and swept out corners.  I have begun to rub all the wood furniture with orange and oil to clean them well.  It is time to close the windows.  Although leaves come in the back door, there should be less dust than before. 

It is that time of year when I get prepared for indoor activities.  I am through with my wandering around and I am planning winter projects.  The leaves are falling fast now.

I have all three bird feeders up and a sack of thistle seed.  I am filling the feeders daily.  There is a mad frenzy to eat and stay well through the winter now.

The past week I have been cleaning out the storage units that held my friend GO's possessions.  It is hard physical labor and it is dirty and dusty.  There is a part of me that is very sad to think that this is what happens to one's life after death.  All the things you cherished and loved just "stuff" now.  My friend CF came and stayed five days to help.  G's and my friend JH has been a blessing.  I asked him at one time "Where are all those friends he had when we need them the most?"

I am also in the mood to clean out my stuff, but right now I am just organizing things.  The last three weeks have flashed by.  I had one week of preparing for a fiber show in Missouri.  After returning home from that OS came for a visit with her dogs.  Then I had two days to change the linens and clean the bathroom.  I swept the floors.  I then drove to Jasper for a book signing.  I spent the night with CF and then she returned to help me this week with the storage unit. 

Now I am ready to settle down and just knit and spin and be.

I am excited that Netflix has Season Six of one of my BBC detective shows.  So today I am going to binge on George Gently and spin yarn.  I get up to stretch and move around.  I move things around and throw things away.  It is a job only I can do, and I have procrastinated long enough.

So have a great first week of November.  Where did the year go?  A year ago I was caring for my friend after he had a stroke.  I lost three months of the winter, and it made the winter go pretty fast.  I will hopefully have a quiet and settled winter this year. 

"The best way out is always through." = Robert Frost 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mid October-Time To Prepare

The weather is trying to decide if it wants to be warmish or coolish.  It is the usual preFall that occurs in my part of the world.  Now we are in a coolish state with lots and lots of rain.  A few thunders occurred, but mostly rain.  I actually turned the heater on to 68 today.  It is cool, damp and not very comfortable on old bones.

I am frantically trying to prepare for next weeks fiber show in Missouri.  I am not going to spin another bit of fluff until after the show.  I am tired of spinning fluff.  Well, not really, but I wanted to be a little bit dramatic.  I have some really pretty yarns, and I hope they sell well.  I know that some of them will make something nice if they don't sell.  It may be a very nice winter for knitting.

I have been on the selling binge for the book too.  Ugh.  I hate this part of writing a book.  It is a given that it has to be done, but UGH!

My friend CJE gave me some chicken the other day.  Someone had given them a huge amount of chicken for the freezer, so shared part of her booty.  Yesterday I baked a HUGE chicken for my evening meal.  Last evening I pulled all the meat off and packaged it for the freezer.  I then transferred the bones, gristle and bits into a pot for boiling.  I want to have some broth on hand for this winter.  I always like to be prepared for winter viruses.  I like to have chicken broth and chicken on hand to make soups.  Call me weird, but I find homemade chicken broth and soup the one thing that gets me through a stomach virus.

I have been buying extra canned goods for the pantry for winter preparation.  Each week that I go to grocery store, I buy a can of this and a can of that.  I have been waiting to go to Aldis or to the Bent and Dent store for my major buying for the pantry.  I scored Thursday at the grocery store.  They had generic canned pumpkin for $1 a can.  I bought three.  I love pumpkin and I eat it all year round.  Not just for pie, but for all kinds of things. 

It is time to start buying tomato soup too.  I like to drink soup for lunch, and my favorite is creamy tomato.  I put it in a cup, heat it in the Microwave, and lunch is ready.

I went through a bleak period of not wanting to knit.  I got over it.  I am now starting a plain simple top down raglan cardigan.  I  figured it will not take me too long to get it done.  I like it so far.

I also started a pair of knitted slippers for my friend DA.  He wants them for his brother in Wisconsin.  I normally do not do this kind of knitting-meaning on demand for a specific project.  I hope he likes them, because this is it.  No second chances.

I have been tired of Netflix-not much variety right now.  I have been watching PBS video of past shows.  I also have been listening to books on tape from the library.  These two get me through.

I realize I have not been in my sewing room for a while now.  I have two quilts that I started in early 2013 and never finished.  I have got to get myself into a better place and get some of my past projects finished and completed.  I shake my head and chastise myself, but I don't get it done. 

The leaves are started to turn a little bit.  The ornamental trees have started to be deep maroon/purplish across the road.  My neighbors Bradford pears are turning red and yellow.  The hardwoods are slowly showing some yellow.  Soon it will be really pretty around here.  The last hurrah.

I have to finish pricing my yarn, go through all my other inventory of "stuff", wash and iron the cover for the table, and finish making the postcards I designed instead of business cards.  I am a little nervous, but not over the top yet. 

I noticed that Oct., Nov, and December are going to be long months.  My friend CF does not understand it.  She tells me they still have the same number of days as always.  What difference does it make how many weeks there are or weekends.  I know it is illogical, but when I look at the calendar I see long months ahead.  

Not anything else to report at this time.  I haven't knit a single pair of new socks in a long, long, time.  I am thinking waffle pattern.  I found an easy waffle pattern that will not take much thinking.  After I get these slipper socks made, I think I will cast on.

Stay warm and stay dry.  It's going to be raining for a coupla more days.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Almost Fall

Yes-this blog entry is loaded with photos.  I haven't been putting photos on as much as I would like.  The pics above is my current yarn being plied.  I wanted more orange.  Well-surprise! As it is spun and plied, the dominant colors are the greens.  The orange, reds, purples, grays are just thrown in the mixture.  Oh, well, it looks like Fall anyway.  The wool is Polworth!  I love Polworth.  I bought this from October House Fiber Arts.  Robin is from Hot Springs, so supporting my local indie artists.

This was some lovely BFL I completed from the roving you see in background.  This is from Two Windows Dye Co., Hutchinson, KS-  Deb Waggoner is the dyer.


 YAHOOOOOO!  I finished the sweater that seemed to take forever to knit.  I am very, very proud of the accomplishment.  Let's see.  The pattern is from the book Medieval Inspired Knits.  The designer is Anna-Karin Lundberg.  It is merino/cashmere.  Love the feel of it, love the warmth of it, and glad it is DONE!

 I attended a wonderful workshop with my friend Beth Brown-Reinsel on Latvian mitts.  It was an all-day class in Eureka Springs and I was pooped out by 1pm.  It is amazing to see the various mitts as they progressed along the day.  Beth is a wonderful teacher and if you ever, ever get a chance to take a class, grab it. 

This is my study in craziness.  I bought this wool on Etsy because I wanted more orange/reds in my life.  I got it from Phoenix Fiber Co.-the dyer is April Noel- and I was so excited to see it in real life.
I listened to a book on tape while spinning.  I got so enthralled with the book and listening that I did not pay attention to my spinning.  I ended up with cousins instead of twins.  One skein has more reds and the other has more grays.  Oh, well, they are pretty.  Again the wool is Polworth.

Now on to more current news.  CJE's mother passed yesterday morning.  It was a short hospital stay this time, thank goodness.  Of course, CJE is in that suspended time of dealing with the aftermath of a death and dealing with the emptiness.  Her husband is the emotional one and the one to watch.  They now are down to one mother left, and I think it is surely not that far away.  She is 92 yrs old and frail.  She is strong-willed, so one never knows.

My little kitty Tommy Cat has disappeared.  He did not come home after going out Friday night some time.  He was only here a very short four months, but I think he was becoming a very loving kitty.  He was feral most of his life, so he had a good last four months of love and care.  I miss  him.

I am liking this cooler weather, but the ragweed is killing me.  I know it always bad, but this year is especially cruel.  We had such good growing weather this year instead of the awful drought.  I hope it goes away soon.

It is truly a pretty time with the goldenrod blooming, the late sunflowers, and the asters.  The verbena is still purple.  There are some butterfly weeds that are orangey. 

It will soon be time to close up the house.  The spiders are really kicking in gear now before the end of season.  I sucked a small one with the vacuum and she did not want to go.  I hate to do that, but I can't have them in every corner.  There is a big one on the inside of the screened porch.  Now why does she thing she can catch anything on the inside?  Wouldn't it make sense to be on the outside?

I am trying to get the house cleaned up before the closing up time.  It just seems pointless sometimes. I did put in a clean filter for the furnace.  I haven't checked the smoke alarm lately, but I think the battery is fine for that.  I cleaned behind the appliances early in the summer when I cleaned out the freezer. I never cleaned the windows for the summer, so those still need doing.  Of course, there is the endless chore of keeping floors clean.  Some of the plants need to be cut back.  I am still mowing the yard, but that will go on until hard freeze in mid-late October. 

Yes, I am still selling books.  UGH!  It is not my favorite thing to do.  A book signing did cancel last weekend, and I wasn't too upset.  I have two next week.  Then October is busy, busy, busy.

I guess that's all.  I am knitting on a Kate Davis design for a hat.  I am planning my next sweater, which is not going to be so complicated.  I think I need something easy for a change. 

I am listening to a book while plying this next yarn.  I hope it turns out to match it's sibling.

Happy Fall next week!  Enjoy the beauty and coolness.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

OMG! August's Almost Over

Well, I am going to moan and groan a bit about the heat.  We have had an unusual summer this year.  It has been cooler and wetter than usual.  Until two weeks ago anyway.  Then one of those highs that get the weather man going.  It moved into the central part of the US and hasn't moved in two weeks. We have had really HOT weather and  humidity.  There is a promise of cooler weather and maybe rain by the weekend.  Hope so.

My friend Beth is coming from Vermont this weekend.  She will be staying in Eureka Springs for two weeks.  I warned her it may be hot.  She is a New Englander-she doesn't do hot.  Oh, well, she chose to come in September.

I haven't been doing a whole lot of anything since the heat moved in.  I did mow the yard this morning.  There is a bit of Bermuda mixed into the regular pasture weeds.  It does grow in the heat.  So it was a lick and a promise type of mowing.

In the back yard I have a swath of rectangular grass that does grow thickly.  It must be where the gray water comes out.  It is away from the septic tank.  I couldn't mow it this morning because of the wetness.  I will tackle it close to dark tonight.

Tommy Cat is officially a member of our family now.  He likes to have regular meals and he likes air conditioning.  I didn't think he would ever give up his wild ways of survival, but he is much tamer now.  He and Noodles have a truce going on.  He finally respects that Noodles is old and is the head cat in this family.  I don't know that he likes it, but he does lower his head during the staring contest.

I have finally gotten somewhere with my stranded sweater.  I have cut the steeks on the neckline and I have to cast on to finish that bit of work.  It actually looks like a sweater now.  Boy!  This has taken me forever to make this one.

I have been spinning and spinning and spinning.  I think I am going to quit for a while.  I have enough for the show in October, and I will have to think up things to do with the yarn that is left over.  I may buy a little more roving at the Greenwood fiber show.  Otherwise, I am done for a while.

I have been trying to decide what sweater to knit next, but I am kinda burned out on sweaters for a while.  I have been looking at patterns.  I really would like a sweater coat, but I don't have enough yarn in stash to make one.  I don't want to buy any more yarn.

So we are in the summer doldrums right now.  I am feeling lazy.  I don't want to cook, and food is not interesting to me.  I have been able to keep myself from living on ice cream so far. 

I guess nothing of interest has been going on.  I have been trying to decide how many books to order.  I have dipped into the last box, and I have a busy Fall calendar ahead for book signings.  I have been writing quite a bit, but nothing has come together in a solid way.  I've been thinking about that a lot.

Friends of mine have gone on vacations this summer.  I am home with the three animals.  I wanted to go to Taos for the wool festival, but I just cancelled my room reservation.  I am going to be good and not spend money.

So moving onto September next week.  This summer has passed quickly and without too much fuss.  It will soon be time to clean out the sunflower stalks and pokeberry stalks.  The robins have moved in for the pokeberry season.  I saw a huge flock of geese on the mossy pond on Barrington yesterday.  Soon it will be time to put away the hummingbird feeder.  A change is coming again.

Stay cool.  Have a fun Labor Day weekend.

Monday, July 21, 2014


I am really depressed about my stranded sweater.  I thought maybe it was coming up a year soon that I have been working on it.  So I went to the archives and damn! my first mention of the planning was July 9.  My next entry on the blog was July 23 and I said I was moving along on the pattern.  That is really not right. 

I don't think it has ever taken me over a year to complete a sweater of any kind.  Even when I was a newbie sweater maker in the 8th grade.  I am definitely going to get this sucker finished sooner rather than later.

I lost about three months with my friend's illness and subsequent death.  I also started another sweater and finished it quickly.  At least in my three month normal time frame.  I have finished a lot of things other than that sweater.  I am not going to keep making excuses.

I normally have two or three projects going.  I have a tendency to put things down and walk away for a while.  This particular pattern I could only do in the daylight.  I found putting a chair by the window allowed me the right light to see the pattern without strain.  There was no glare on the pattern propped up on the magnetic board on the table by the chair.  My eyes did get tired and I would have to stop.

Once I started the sleeves it should have been a breeze to finish.  It is a simple trellis pattern that is easily readable for any mistakes.  On the first sleeve I was two or three inches along when I realized I had made a mistake.  I ended up unknitting three times until I finally got the thing in my head. So now I am on the second sleeve and I have the pattern in my head and I know immediately when I have made a mistake.

 I think it is a geometry thing.  When I was in high school I had to be tutored to get through all the math classes.  My father was a whiz at math and tried to explain things.  He got frustrated and hired someone to tutor me.  When it came to geometry he would actually make the 3-D things and try to explain it to me.  I never got it.  I am so amazed when I see 3-D knitting or crocheting.  How does one think up that stuff?  They have a head for geometry and advanced math formulas that I don't.

I was in the fifth grade when the teacher explained to my parents that I was able to get the correct answers on the math problems.  The problem was I was not using the "correct" formulas or methods to get the answers.  When I tried to explain how I got the answers my father would just look at me like I was nuts.  I couldn't understand his language and he couldn't understand mine.  Sometimes I still use my old methods to get answers.  It does seem a little convoluted.

The irony of all that was the summer I stayed with my parents in my twenties.  I needed a part-time job until I moved on with my life.  I got a job in the superintendent's office at the local school system doing secretarial go-fer stuff for the administrative assistant.  It was boring.  My old fifth grade teacher found out I was there and she asked if I could help some of the kids being held over for summer school.  These poor kids were having the same problem I had with math.  She told me that she didn't care what method they used as long as they could get the correct answer in the end.  So I spent a lot of time with fifth graders helping them pass their math tests using a weird math system.

So isn't it strange that I can do the simple math stuff for knitting?  Sometimes I have to go over my notes just to make sure the numbers are right.  With weaving I had no trouble since I only wove with four harnesses.  So everything was divided by four.  Simple everyday math I can handle.  I can make change in my head so I know how to make money transactions. 

So is this a long drawn out excuse for not getting the sweater finished.  No, but it is an explanation of my warped thinking.  I now have the map in my head of how the knitting is to be done.  So now I can finish my sleeve.

So back to this other thing.  I have met a lot of people in my lifetime that have a greater math phobia than I do.  I mean I really lock up when someone starts with "Let's do a little math game." or "Do you remember how to do this algebraic formula?"  I shut down.  When I told one of my weaving students 30 years ago or so that weaving is basically a simple mathematical tool and she shut down.  She could not figure it out.  I finally asked someone for help.  This was in the days of early computers, so he built a program for me that would show the draw-down and when I pushed a button the woven piece would show.  By changing it to a visual thing she understood what I meant.  She went on to do beautiful work from that point on.

So, yes, I will finish this sweater before it is cold enough to wear it.  Yes, I have two other projects going that require work.  Oh, yes, I am already planning the next sweater.  It is going to be a simple thing-maybe a gansey or something. 

The weather is warming again.  It is in the 80's and the humidity is returning.  The yard needs attention.  I am lazy and have not been out in the garden lately.  Just this morning I was thinking I need to get that ragweed out of the front bed.

Gotta go.  Sorry to make so many excuses for my poor knitting habits.  I am going to get this sweater finished soon.