Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March-A Month of Contemplation

Every winter I try to teach myself new skills.  It is supposed to be a time of learning, reawakening creativity, and certainly one of discovery. 

This year I decided I would learn to do rughooking.  The method is like knitting-it is traditional only in the sense of how to use your tools.  The creativity is endless.  Of course, I have wanted to do rughooking for so many years, I cannot imagine how long it has been.  I have started a project.  I put it in my pea brain how I wanted it to look.  Since it isn't looking like I imagined, it has become a frustration.  I don't know what is the matter with my work.  It isn't satisfying me.  I know I am my own worst critic.  Sigh!

I also have been knitless for any big projects.  I like to have at least one challenging project that makes me crazy and gives me something to complain about.  So I decided I would do a Sanquhar sampler scarf.  That is another skill I wanted to learn, so I ordered Beth Brown-Reinsel's DVD on her gloves.  I just couldn't get into making a pair of gloves in a fidgety pattern.  So the scarf was a good alternative.

I ordered the yarn, and it should have been here last week.  Everything is delayed due to weather.  Yesterday I looked at the tracker and UPS transferred the package to the post office!  How crazy!  Hopefully I will get it today. 

Sunday night I was so out of sorts since I had nothing on needles.  The TV shows are so mindless that I cannot sit still in a chair and pay attention to the show.  I hastily cast on a pair of socks.  I don't need any socks, but it was easy to cast on and get going.  After the heel I will have to decide who they are for so I can make them the right length.

I did cast on a simple hat pattern last Tuesday when the newest snow storm blew in.  I finished that Friday night.  I used leftover yarns, and it knit very quickly. 

I have also finished one skein of my orange yarn.  It is very, very soft and squishy and really, really lovely.  I realized that I buy roving seasonally.  I bought this last Fall when I was in a very orange-y mood.  Right now I am more into pinks and greens and light blues.  I am trying very hard to get this orange finished.  It is really pretty.  I have also refused to buy any new rovings-especially the pinks, greens, and blues.  I don't need any new fiber.  Sigh!

I have been trying to block out time during the horrible winter weather.  It is so amazing that we have had the most gorgeous nice winter until February.  Then the ugly hit.  I am so thankful that I am not in the frigid north, but this is more cold than I like.  I think it is being forced to stay indoors that does it for me.  Right now we are in a warm up phase, which means mud.  I will take mud over snow/ice any day.

I have been watching several quilting videos I have.  I have learned some new ideas, but for the most part it is just a way to past time.  I like the refreshers on color and color theory.  Some of the information I used to know, and suddenly I slap my forehead and say Duh!  Why didn't you remember this? 

Patty is slowing changing.  I have to keep an eye on her regularly.  I think she is having mini-strokes some days.  She had a rough day a coupla days ago.  I once thought Noodles would die first, and Patty and I could go on trips together.  It doesn't look that way now.  I won't be going on too many trips with her at all.  I would like to go out to the woods for some hiking, and I think she could manage fine right now.  I am just waiting for a warmer day to do so-with some sunshine.

The birds are eating me out of house and home.  Well, the squirrels are helping.  I notice that the colors are brighter on the finches and cardinals.  The songs are a little different, too.  First signs that the weather is changing.

Life is surely strange.  I don't think I ever imagined that I would live this long.  I know I am young chronologically, but I just never thought I would live this long.  Now I have blood pressure problems, and it seems odd.  I know that we never know when the end will be.

 I was lying in bed and thinking.  I thought about my friend George, and I felt a heaviness in my chest.  It is strange that mostly I don't feel sad about his passing, but then last night I did.  I am so thankful that he passed so quickly.  He was so fearful and that was difficult to manage.  I thought of others that have passed on, too, and it was a reflective time to ponder the meanings of things we do.

Well, on that gloomy note I guess I better get moving along.  I have lots to do, but I have little motivation right now.  It is probably the overcast, gray skies and the chilly dampness.  Have a great week!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day

It seems to me that the holidays-like Valentines Day- are super hyped these days.  I bet the stores already have green shamrocks and little people pasted on the walls.  It boggles the mind.

This week I had a bit of a scare.  My blood pressure read 196/97.  It never came down below 165, and I was really worried.  I went to the clinic, and I am now on bp meds and the doc put me back on cholesterol meds.  I am monitoring my bp daily and will return to the doctor next Wednesday.

So maybe I have an active imagination, but I feel more energized and want to get a lot done in a day.
I have sheets out on the line, dog beds in the washer, and bread is rising.  I have swept the floors-I am not going to mop today- and I am really ready to just sit down a while and rest.

I finished my sweater.  I slogged through the stockinette row after row after row.  It is really pretty.  I found the cutest yellow buttons that are vintage, and I need to sew those on today.  I finished the little blue hat for Max's birthday.  I don't see how this thing will fit him.  He is one big boy.

I just put the dog beds in the dryer to get rid of some of the hair.  Then I will put it outside to finish drying.  Noodles is lying on the top of the dryer in a sunny spot.  I had a memory of standing next to the shaking washing machine and dryer as a kid.  We thought it could jiggle away our fat.  Too funny, eh?

The bread is beginning to smell yeasty.  I love the smell of rising bread.

I have had a lot of trouble going to sleep lately.  Just as I settle and find a comfy spot, my brain engages.  I think about the stories I am writing right now.  I think of where they are going and how I am going to bring them to that spot.  How does one just turn off one's brain?  Just as I relax, I have to get up and go to the bathroom. Sigh!

Today is an absolutely gorgeous day!  The sun is shining, the sky is blue, a bit of wind.  According to the weather guy, this evening the wind will shift from the north.  This will herald in our newest cold front from the artic.  UGH!  I hate cold.  It could be just like today forever.  Tomorrow the temp is supposed to plummet.  Then snow/freezing rain/and or ice will move in.  UGH!  That is why I am preparing everything today for the event.

I don't know what I will knit next.  I finally put a pair of socks on the needles.  I also started a zigzag afghan.  It is one of those ten stitch patterns.  Both are quite simple to do, and I am up for something for a challenge.  I just don't know what.

I am almost finished spinning the second bobbin of orange mutli merino, and then I will ply that.  I think it is quite pretty.  Unspun the orange is rather dominant.  Blended in while spinning, it is not as prominent.  Yes, it is orange, but more of an earthy, Fall leaves kind of orange.  I like it a lot.

Patty is snoring right next to me.  Poor little thing.  She is so confused why I am so active.  She has to be right under my feet at all times, and it does discombobulate her teeny brain.  She is happy most of the time and doesn't seem to be in any kind of distress most of the time.  I can be thankful for that.

So back to work.  It has been a good sit down and a bit of a rest.  I have some things I want to do before lunch.  Whew!  I don't know where the energy came from, but I am taking advantage of it.

Keep safe, keep warm, and stay off the roads on Monday morning.  Next time.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Eight Years!

I had to look it up.  I started this blog in January, 2007.  It is hard to imagine what anyone can really talk about in that amount of time.  Obviously my interests in fiber work stays constant.  My interest in writing on this blog has not.  I seem to only write once in a while now.  I guess my idea is to create more balance, but it only complicates life.  I have so many things I want to work on, and I pick up my knitting.  I guess I am in a rut.

Patty is older now.  I am dealing with a geriatric dog.  Noodles will be fifteen years old this year.  He is moving slowly, but he still hunts and wanders around the yard.  I guess his aging has come slowly enough that I have gotten used to his slower ways.  I noticed it more when Tommy Cat was living with us last year.  He was young and spry and full of energy.

I am older now too.  I find my hips don't like sitting too long.  I am constantly wiggling around to find a way to lessen the pain.  I am moving slower.  I am doing less physical work than I used to do.  I can ride the mower all day, but the push mower and weed eater kill me.

So where are we now.  Still living in the gray house in my studio.  Still spreading out all the things I love to work on.  Still happy to be able to do all the things I love.  I may get new glasses, but I can still see and here and smell and taste and feel all the fine things I love.  I have pumpernickel bread in the bread oven right now.  Almost ready by the smell of things.

So here's to a new year of growth and prosperity for everyone.  Keep on doing!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Yes! January Is Back!


My first finished project for the year 2015.  It is handspun merino.  I loved the colorway and I chose to knit it in a simple feather and fan pattern that would not take any thinking on my part.  I found this patch of moss and the green in the yarn matched the moss exactly.  I thought while knitting it that it reminded me of a forest floor.  The moss just confirmed my intuition.

January started out bitter cold and windy.  We suddenly had a very brief four days of sunshine and warmth.  It was a great respite from the usual gray, gloomy, cold days.  For some unusual reason we have not had any rain or frozen anything for a week.  I am so happy for that.  Patty hasn't been complaining either. Today it is overcast and cold again.

I am on the first sleeve of the simple yoke cardigan sweater.  I really haven't been pushing too hard. It will really be lovely when finished.  It is a yellow red, not the blue red.  I like the color on me.   I have to say I prefer to knit a top-down raglan than a bottom-up raglan.  I like to try it on and see how it going.  I find that it works better than measuring the knitting.

I have slowed my spinning down tremendously since I am not going to do any shows this year.  I want to knit up what I have and go from there.  I do have the orange mix divided out and ready to go. On the e-spinner I have some plain old white BFL.  I am so happy I bought that thing.  It is more comfortable to sit in a comfy chair and just spin away while I am watching Netflix.  I am finding that as I sit in a chair and spin on the treadle wheel, my hips hurt more.  I have to get up and move around.
Age is a bitch, I know.

My cousin DMP visited from Virginia for two days.  He and his sister were changing bank accounts in Oklahoma for the property they own there.  The bank said he had to come in person and sign the papers.  Evidently with homeland security breathing on everyone these days, they have to do this in person.  He wasn't happy that he had to take two days from work, but I think we had a great visit.  Usually when he visits in April, he is exhausted from working two days at the convention center.  This visit he didn't have that and we spent more time talking.

My friend CJE has been accepted to present her work at the gift shop at Crystal Bridges Museum.  She is also working on writing more.  She is taking an online class with Ann Hood, and this has gotten her going again. 

I had a talk and reading at the Fayetteville Library this month.  I had five people show up.  Three of them were friends, so that made it more comfortable.  I sold four books. 

I am also teaching myself rug hooking.  I know what I want to do, but I am antsy.  I don't quite have the skills to make it work, but I am trying hard.  I am also teaching myself punch needle embroidery. I like that a lot, too.

I also have a lot of creative ideas for some other projects.  I suddenly have more projects all over the place.  I guess that is why my spinning and knitting have slowed down.  I have discovered Pinterest, and I am busy hoarding photos for inspiration.

I also have plans to finish those two quilts that I started two years ago and never finished. 

So I better get busy and do some of this, I guess.  Have a good rest of the week.  Gibbs is on tonight.Yay!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's The End-Again!

Although I don't think of the traditional Jan 1 as New Year's, it is the beginning of new things.  It is an Aries moon, a time of new beginnings, a time of turning things around, a time to reflect and change.

Since my last time to leave Patty at the boarding place, I knew that my adventures away from home would be coming to an end.  She is not doing so well; she has certainly showed me signs of a geriatric dog with special needs.  I notice them because of my education and training and the fact that I am with her all the time.  Her vision has decreased, her hearing has decreased, and her need to be with me has increased. 

So this whole month I have been thinking about what to do.  Partly thinking, anyway.  I have a tendency to put ideas in and let them stew for a while.  I have enjoyed my selfish knitting and my selfish spinning.  I don't feel the pressure to put out more and more.

I have also decided to teach myself a new skill-rug hooking.  I don't think the process is difficult-it's the practice, practice, practice kind of skill.  I like the type of hooking that looks as if it is painterly.  I like the mixing of colors and textures to add interest.  It is the color in the lines part I don't like.  We will see how it evolves. 

So this is just one more thing that is taking up my time.  Now add to that my sewing.  I bought a design wall and I have placed my quilt blocks from the quilt that was abandoned two years ago.  I did give a lot of fabric away to my SIL that quilts.  I cleaned off the shelves.  I did not sort through the flannels yet.  I also need to decide what to do with some other things in that room.  I have pillowcases to make, also.

So this is the end of the year 2014 by our traditional calendar.  Time to reflect and decide how things are going to go.

Thanks to all my friends and comrades that helped me along my path this year.  My book was published, book signings were done, fiber shows were done, and lots of stuff to consider. 

Several transitions have occurred and it is time to think about those people too. 

See you next year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day 2014

Yes, it is another Christmas.  Strangely I haven't been singing as many songs as I like to sing during the season.  This is the first year I haven't worn my Christmas pin.  And I didn't put up the Christmas tree this year.  Although all this sounds sad, I am not sad.  I just feel right. 

I went to CJE and AE's house yesterday to help clean out his mom's closet.  It was an archaeological dig and then some.  It is apparently going to take a few days of pulling things out, rather than a one day event.  CJE and I did not want to traumatize him and it was beginning to be apparent that he was saddened to see us take both cars loaded to Care and Share to drop off sacks of stuff.

I did bring home a sack of woolen clothing that could be made into fabric for rug hooking.  I left it out on the screened porch last night to freeze any critters.  I will sort it out there, wash them, and cut them into useable parts.

I just read an interesting idea for dyeing fabric that I want to try out.  It looked like fun and something to experiment with.

I began giving Patty a medicine "treat" that has chondroitin in it.  She just thinks it is a treat, and gobbles it down.  I am hoping this will help her hips and back knee joints.  She is having some difficulty with jumping.  She is more "spacey" lately and it is obvious she is thinking through the process of whatever task she is supposed to be doing.  The OT in me watches her and tries to think of creative ways to keep her independent.

I just heard honking and looked up.  Evidently my neighbor across the road has relatives coming.  Three cars pulled in behind each other and through her gate. 

I have been knitting on my sweater and have one more inch before the ribbing.  I have slogged through all the miles of stockinette, and relief is in sight.  I started knitting a feather/fan scarf with some of handspun yarn.  The colorway is so gorgeous.  It reminds me a forest floor with shadows, moss, and tiny flowers.  I will post a pic next time.

Today is a beautiful sunny day.  This has been the cloudiest and gloomiest weather month.  We have had drizzle, freezing rain, drizzle, and more drizzle.  Clouds every day.  I think I will wash something and hang on the line.  It was cold last night, but pleasant today.

I had Santa Claus when I got home last night.  Someone (I don't know who) sent me a new camera.  It isn't an expensive one, but nice.  It has more megapixels than the one I had.  I also got my package from Ryan and Holly.  She always finds the best little gifts.  I would rather get a sack of small gifts than one big one.  I donated money to a charity for them, and I sent them a few items in the mail.  I know that it is cheating to do that, but I like to think that they appreciate the idea of the donation.

I guess I jinxed the sky.  Clouds just covered up the sun.  Sigh!

I haven't been very faithful to this blog.  I think I need to reassess what I want to do about that.  I either have to close it or write more often.  I guess now that my book is published, I could write more here.  I just don't seem to "get around to it".

I also need to consider what to do with all the "stuff" I have lying around.  I need to finish some projects that have lingered too long in the unfinished line.

Instead of thinking about any of this, I think I will go and watch the birds.  I think this is a sit and stare out the window kind of day. 

More pictures next time.  Have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Oh No, Not Another Learning Experience

This has been a strange beginning to my hibernation season.  The weather has been up and down as it does in December.  I am so happy we have not had another December like last year's mess.  I remember the ice and snow.  It has been overcast, dreary, and damp.  The highs are seasonal. 

I am now facing the facts that I have a geriatric dog and that I am now getting geriatric.  I have more aches and hurting than ever before.  Patty has been doing a lot of staring at me and shaking.  After a phone call with my friends, we decided she is in pain.  I read online I can give her a low dosage aspirin.  So I gave her an 81 mg pill after calculating her weight and dosage.  She slept in her usual way, with getting up and groaning and stretching, and she could not jump onto her usual places.  That seemed to get her through that rough day.

Then she did the strangest thing the other night.  I walked into the kitchen to get a snack around 8 pm, and she followed me as she always does now.  I don't know why I turned around as I walked into the living room, but I did.  She was squatting and peeing on the floor.  She never does this.  She could not understand why I was screaming and yelling "no, no, no, no" over and over.  Of course, she isn't able to hear me, but she could read the body language really well.  She walked through the puddle and went to her safe place-her bed.  Sigh!  So she is being monitored constantly for any more signs of aberrant behavior.

I did a most unforgiveable thing for me to do.  I forgot to pay a bill.  It is so bizarre.  I have a very rigid method of recording my bills in a notebook and in my check register.  I do most of my bill paying online, but some require checks to be mailed.  The other night I was thinking about a gift for my son and daughter-in-law and thinking of putting it on my credit card, etc.  Then a flash went off-"Did I pay that bill?"  I remember getting it, but I couldn't remember anything after that.  Of course, my excuse is that I had to clean up my house really good for someone to come over.  I went through the stack where I keep bills-another rigid habit I have.  I have one place that I place bills.  I tore the house up looking for the bill.  I went online to check my electronic statements, I checked my check register in my purse, I looked and looked and looked.  I finally concluded that I hadn't paid it.

Sure, you would think I could go online and check there.  No, I have to have an access code that is on the statement.  No statement-no access code.

Finally I called the bank in Kansas City.  I explained I had had a senior moment.  Bless "Nicole"'s heart-she waived the late fee and took the info down to  pay the damn thing.  Then when I hung up I cried.  I can't believe I did that.  How could I forget what I did with the damn bill?  Either it will show up many months down the line, or I burned it with the paper trash.  My bets are on the latter.

That's two things that I have forgotten this week.  It is very scary to me.  Is this a sign of dementia or is it truly just a "senior moment". 

I also could not find anyone to knit those damn slippers for my friend DA.  He wants a pair of slippers like the old ratty one for his brother.  His brother loved that slipper until he wore a hole in the bottom.  So I found a pattern, cast on, knit them both, and sewed up the first one.  That's when I realized that these were way, way too small for a heavy-set man to wear.  I threw it down and sulked for two days.  I finally ripped out the two I had knit and cast on again.  I finished the one and sewed it up and it is 11 inches!  I was so thrilled I squealed.  So last night I knit the garter bottom and I am ready to start decreases on the second damn slipper. 

I really shouldn't hate knitting these as much as I do.  I am knitting with two worsted threads together on a size 9 needle.  It should knit fast and quickly.  Unfortunately I find the bigger needles hurt my hands more so than the smaller needles.  So I have to stop, flex my hands, wash the dishes in hot water, and go back later to it.  I will have this damn thing finished soon, and it will be done!

I finished the most beautiful yarn on my new electric spinner.  It is a multi color with black, dark blue, greens, yellows, and a dab of pink thrown in.  Really pretty.  Quite proud of my first skein off the new machine.

I am also getting really close with the sweater I am knitting.  I have over nine inches of the body completed.  Stockinette is boring, but I am getting it done.  I have to have fourteen inches of this and then the ribbing.  Yay!  Then the sleeves, then I am DONE!

I have picked out a pattern for my handspun handknit project this winter.  The blue yarn I love did not produce as much yardage as I expected.  So I am going to do a vest.  The pattern I picked out is Kasuri Chanchanko out of Folk Vests by Nancy Bush.  It will require a contrast color for the stranded work.  I think I am going to use white.  I have to finish the sweater on the needles first.  I am still planning ahead.

The Wild Foods Party is this weekend.  AE is in his fevered preparation stage, as usual.  CJE is fighting her sinus infection and avoiding his anxiety.  It will be fun to see everyone around the table again.

When I talked to the young lady at the bank this morning, I was asked my security questions.  I don't remember what I picked, but obviously one of them was my mother's maiden name.  How secure is that anyway?  After I hung up, I suddenly thought about that.  I remember then that my mother has been gone 30 years now.  It just seemed strange-30 years! 

Well, I guess I need to go knit on those slippers and get that project off the list.  Sigh! 

Patty is staring at me again.  Maybe she needs to run outside again.  Another Sigh!

I am going to try to be a better blogger, but no promises are made.  Have a great weekend!