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

Well-Pooh!

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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Is It Really Mid-July?

This is BFL that is so lovely it hurts.  I bought the roving from the same dealer and the name is the same-Oatmeal.  It may be difficult to see, but the bottom one is browner than the top batch.  Sigh! I had intended that this be a bottom half of a yoke sweater if it doesn't sell at the show in October.  Now-I don't know.  Maybe something else entirely.

Today is another weird weather day.  We had the low 50's when I woke up and I had to put on a sweatshirt and a light pair of knit pants.  IN MID-JULY!  With this polar plunge front from the north, the humidity is nil-thank goodness.  I have to go out and stand in the sun to warm up my fingers.  Crazy-Crazy-Crazy!

A new kitty has adopted us.  He began hanging with us in the winter and I did not encourage him.  He and Noodles got into horrendous fights.  Since Noodles is an old grumpy cat, he lost most of the battles. 

Well, tomorrow the new kitty has an appointment at the Spay/Neuter Clinic.  I am so thrilled for this service.  They are neutering him and giving him a rabies shot for $35. 

He has become tame enough to love on when he sets the terms.  He still jumps and runs if I do any weird arm motion or clomp too loudly around.  Today he actually played with some toilet paper rolls.

I had thought in my head that Noodles would be the last kitty I would have.  He is fourteen and could live a while longer.  I am not getting any younger either.  And here is the new one coming into our lives.  Noodles hates him, of course.  He is not adjusting well.

I finished the sleeve of the sweater and I have done two rows on the second sleeve.  I cast on a quick mosaic stitch cap that is fast and easy.  I am thinking I need to think about the show in October, but I am not really motivated.

The book got off to a good start.  I have signings set up and I am thinking of ordering more books.  I just don't know.  Unfortunately my momentum has slowed down and I am not pushing myself to sell what I have.  I just don't have the get up and go.

We have had a lot of rain and it has become hard to mow around the rainy days.  I am slowly mowing down the seeds for the bachelor buttons and the fleabane.  It has been a hard job.  I found some sweet annie sprouted that I didn't realize I had until I had mowed a coupla times.  So now I have a patch of tallish grass to allow that to continue growing. 

The tansy is blooming and I could get a nice dyebath out of that.  I just am not motivated to push myself anymore.  Oh, well.

Not a lot to tell.  I am so amazed at our weird weather that it consumes me.  I have noticed signs of late summer- wooly worms, orb spiders, walking sticks.  The finches are devouring the sunflowers that are seeding.  The bees are pollinating the sunflowers that are blooming.  I have marigolds, black-eyed susans, calendula, verbena, and other flowers blooming.  Oh-the catnip is in full bloom and the bees are in heaven!  They love catnip.  So a typical wild flower place.

Have a great rest of the week and weekend.  Enjoy the coolish weather while we have it.  It will be July again soon.



Sunday, July 6, 2014

What to Do Today

1. Okay-there comes a time in every knitter's life that decisions must be made.  The other night I realized again for the third time that I am not following the pattern on this hat I'm making.  I am tired of ripping it out, so I studied it and studied it.  Surely I can fudge something and keep knitting and it would look all right.  So I set it aside to look at objectively in the daylight hours.  I also didn't want to use my emotions to make a decision.  When I look at it now, I realize I don't like the two colors together and I might as well rip it out.  Regardless of the fact I have made mistakes so many times on this damn thing.  So that is one thing I can do.

2. If I rip out the hat, do I make something else with the yarn?  Or do I just find another yarn that is compatible with the one color I like and continue the pattern that I have messed up on?

3.  I would like to start an indigo dye bath.  I think it is warm enough now to keep it at a proper temp.

4.  I also need to finish up the little dab of BFL I have left.  If this yarn does not sell this Fall, it is going to be the bottom of a yoke sweater.  I like it a lot.

5. I think I would like to make my great-nephew a coupla of little hats.  His mommy and daddy are moving back to Atlanta.  So he will need to keep his little head warm.

6. I am also in the mood to do some sewing, but not enough to go back there and figure out where I left off.  Lazy me.

7.  I am still plugging along with the first sleeve of my sweater.  It will be done some time in my lifetime.

8. I could go read for a while.  That would mean I could turn off the brain for a while.  It is tough having to make a decision about what to do.

9. I could clean up the front room.  I let my chaise lounge go to CJE for her new studio.  Naw! No cleaning today.

10. I could play computer games.  That is mindless, too.

Well, there are lots of options.  I don't know what to do today.  I feel really tired and lazy.  Yesterday JE and I went to CJE's to move things into the studio.  A LOT got moved, but there is still a lot to move.  We did get one of her storage units cleaned out.  That will save her money.  It will be nice once she organizes and gets things in the places she wants.  The electrician is coming tomorrow. It will be nice with the fans going and light in there.

So off to figure out what to do now.  Have a good start to the week.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What To Do On A Hot July 1




 
My friends CJE and AE are taking care of both of their moms in their home.  One is 92 and the other is almost 90.  They are not well, but with the care given them they could last a while longer.  Because my friend CJE is a weaver, spinner, dyer, knitter, and a writer, she had to give up some of her own personal space to house her mom.  It has been a long two or so years of grumbling and passive behavior.  So my friend took her own money and bought a portable building and yesterday it was delivered.  JE and I showed up to support our fiber sister and to watch the events. 
Needless to say it was hot outside all afternoon.  I was pooped by the time I got home and Patty went to bed.
 We are gathering on Saturday to move things in.  It will be a great space for her to play and be creative.  She will have her looms out and ready to weave.  Her spinning wheel can go from house to studio and back.  So can her knitting.  Now the containers of fiber can find a home, the books can find a home, and it will be really nice to put things in their places.
Just as Virginia Woolf said, a woman really needs her own room.  Congrats to CJE! It is wonderful to have you back in the mood to weave and play and spin and knit and write whenever you walk into the door.