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.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Solstice Day!

I prepared myself for this change in season by cleaning out things.  It started as a simple cleaning out the underwear drawer to cleaning out three drawers and the closet.  As I accumulated things, I started looking around the house for things that I don't use or don't need.  I ended up with a box that was overflowing, six grocery bags, and a small table.  It felt pretty good to get rid of things.  Luckily the Goodwill folks opened a drop-off branch right down the way from me.  It is close and convenient.

Today I got up early to enjoy the coolness of the morning.  I dropped Patty off at the groomers and I headed south to Boston Mtn. for the spinning guild meeting.  It was a long, long meeting as far as our group meetings go.  There was a lot of stuff to discuss, so I got a lot of crocheting on the baby blanket.  I am really getting tired of the blanket, but I am persevering to try to get it done sooner than later.

I was able to sell some books at the meeting and that made my savings account happy.  I don't know what is going to happen when I run out of friends.  I don't want to get stuck with a lot of books.

After picking up Patty, she and I headed up to CJE's house. JE was visiting and I thought I would check in with them.  It was a good quick visit, but I didn't want to stay away from home too late.

I made a good supper with a baked potato and some barbequed chicken on top of the baked potato. Easy dinner.

Tomorrow I am going to go to an oral storytelling class that is being held on a vintage train.  It should be fun.  I have stories to tell, and that isn't the problem.  It's how to get them out there.

So now to go to do some meditating and some prayer work for this glorious Solstice.  I always think it is the end of summer instead of the beginning.  Oh, well.  For me a new year starts and new goals and plans to be made.

Have a good rest of the weekend.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Beautiful June Day!

I could keep running from the person I used to be. Or I could write another story.


My new quote for the day.  It struck a cord with me.  I found it on a blog called A Dribble of Ink.

I really haven't been writing for a while.  Then suddenly I am staying up at night with a story going through my head.  I wish there was some magical way to just put those thoughts on the computer and then I could go to sleep.  Sometimes I have to get up and write them down.  Sometimes I finally go to sleep.

I lived with Amy Kate for 38 years before she was printed in my new book.  I think I have a new character that may live with me for a while.

The yard is wild and overgrown on the edges.  I need to do so much trimming.  I am not motivated, so I still need to do so much trimming.  My hollyhocks are taking the prize this year.  So gorgeous!

Patty is itching all the time now.  She drives me insane with the scratching, licking, sucking that she does to relieve the itch.  I have checked her over and no ticks or fleas.  I did find one flea last week, and I immediately bathed her and washed her bedding. 

Wild Kitty wants to fight Noodles for a place in the yard.  The last two nights have been screaming matches that make me go out and move Noodles into the house.  He just wants to sit on his deck in the chair and watch the world at night.  It is a difficult transition to being a senior kitty with a protective mom.

I have slowed down my knitting lately.  I am just not inspired.  At this rate I will not have a baby blanket for SH's new grandbaby.  I also started a new pair of socks for the baby-and they are still in the bag.  I did knit on the sleeve of the sweater yesterday.  I love that it isn't a difficult pattern.

I found a great film on Netflix over the weekend.  It is Mile Mile and a Half.  It is about a group of people who plan for six months to hike the John Muir Trail in one month.  That is about 210 miles of rugged mountainous terrain.  Whew!  I guess it helps to be young.  I used to think I wanted to do a long-distance hike.  One that would take a long while to walk.  I never got around to doing that.  Now I could manage maybe a 4-5 day trip.  Then I would be hungry and cranky and tired and sore.  Especially my feet.

Saturday was my parents' wedding anniversary.  Yesterday was Father's Day.  So I did some thinking over the weekend.  Some times that is good and some times it isn't.

I finally got all the gift books sent away.  Now any monies I make go into the bank.  In theory I won't have any emergencies that require extra money.  Ha!

My friend CF was needed by her daughter to babysit the grandkids for 10 days.  Luckily I was able to go pick her up last Monday and bring her back to Fayetteville. The drive was gorgeous.  It rained both days, but we made the best of the coolish and wet weather.  Every stream, every river, every creek was flowing with tons of water.  I saw a swan at the mill pond.  I saw elk.  A female turkey was standing out on the road coming down from Steele Creek.  The woods are lush and jungle-like.

Today I am going over to B's house to pick CF up and we are going to meet DA for lunch.  It will be old home week.  The wind is blowing and it isn't too hot yet.

I made a new batch of granola over the weekend.  I didn't have pumpkin seeds to put in this time, but I did add some diced up prunes.  I also added a bit more cinnamon than usual.  It is so good and fresh.
Breakfast of champions!

So off we go into the Solstice this weekend.  So funny that everyone talks about it as the official beginning of summer.  Actually I always think of it as the ending of summer.  From Solstice on the days get shorter.  It is so gradual and subtle that one doesn't notice it.  Then suddenly it is Autumn Equinox.  Humans are such funny creatures.

Well, I must shower and go pick up CF.  Have a great week.  The weather is turning again.  I think the hot will move in soon.  We have had such a cool and wet early June that we are lulled into thinking this is okay.  Hmmm!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Yes, I Live In A Jungle!

My book is here.  I sold my first ones yesterday!  I stayed up late last night to read some of the stories. I was disappointed at the mistakes I found.  Oh, well, lesson learned.  One can never, ever find all the typos.  I hope others will forgive the mistakes.

I finished two itty, bitty knitting projects that were a divergent from the big knitting.  I did spend two really nice rainy days this week watching Netflix and knitting on my sleeve. 

The weather has been rainy, rainy, rainy.  It is hard to quickly run out and mow the yard before it is too thick to mow.  It is also too wet to mow most of the time.  It is such a weird weather pattern.  The weather man last night said this weather is the first "normal" weather we have had all year.  I guess.
Come July when we are HOT and DRY I will remember my complaints about the wet.

I did spin up one of the blue bobbins I need for skein two.  I am addicted to Netflix as I do some of these tedious long tasks.  I watched the 2012 season of Longmire.  That has gotten rather complicated.  And I watched the third season of Sherlock.  I had stopped watching those a while back, but returned and finished them yesterday.  I also like Murdochs Mysteries and Poirot.  Those are much longer series, so I can have marathons of Murdoch and Poirot.  They are both period pieces and I enjoy the simplicity of good vs. bad.

Patty found a new pile of garbage my neighbor threw out.  I think she would eat until her stomach would explode.  Thank goodness I got her before she did that.  But it is taking a few days to get it all digested and pooped out.  She is pathetic.

Noodles has moved from eating chipmunks to eating baby rabbits.  He is systematically eating one-sometimes two-a day.  He sleeps all day during the heat and mugginess, and then hunts during the night.  I have to look around for bodies when I get up.  Ugh!

So now it is getting dark again and is ready to rain again.  I tied the hollyhocks up this morning.  The wind blew them around last night and I am afraid they will break.  The bumblebees are still pollinating them no matter what.

Have a good weekend.