Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Good Postal Day!

Lookee....Lookee! I got this in the mail!! It is a T-shirt from City Knitting in Grand Rapids, MI. I apologize 150 times to the blogger that had this on her blog. I called the knit shop right then to order. But now I cannot remember whose blog it was. Nonetheless, you can call City Knitting at 616-454-9276. They do not take internet purchases on this shirt. It was designed by one of their customers who had made some notecards, and they asked her to make up a design for a t-shirt. Isn't it wonderful?
I also got my Vogue Knitting, and I have not looked through it yet. I am one of the freaks that likes to have a quiet time to just sit down-or lay down- and look at it cover to cover. Then I will go back and pick out the things I want to examine. I just cannot glance at it a little bit at a time.
Anyway-just wanted to share the good tidings. I love my new t-shirt. It only comes in the brown with the blue. It's thundering, so best get off the computer. Have a good rest of the day!

Monday, July 30, 2007

OOPS! I Hit the Wrong Button!

I finished this little skein yesterday morning while it was still cool. It is a wool that I bought a hundred years ago and cannot remember the breed. It is a rather fine crimp, long fibers. Really beautiful stuff. This skein came out to 198 yds and 2.5 ozs. I blocked it on my PVC blocker from the Spin-Off pattern. I think it's really pretty. The color is actually that cream-colored white-the photo makes it look whiter than it is.

Yesterday later afternoon I went to C.J.'s house to spin. She had the a/c cranked up and ready to go. I had started spinning my green copper dyed yarn, and it is going to be really pretty. I have found that with my Woolee winder I am making a more consistently thin yarn. And I like that. Not too much thinking on my part. C.J. is just beginning-bought her wheel in May. But she is a natural. She is loving alpaca. There are a lot of alpaca farmers in this area, and she has met a few of them. Her husband bought her some beautiful rovings for her birthday, and now she is really hooked on the already-to-go stuff. But she wants to learn from the dirty fleece up. And I have two more fleeces to clean. So.... whenever you are ready, let me know.

Noodles on the look-out post. Couldn't pass up that picture. And Noodles found the box where I hid the quilt blocks. I put them there so he or Baby would not lay on them and get them dirty. Oh, well!
So now it is thundering and it is a smidge cooler. But August weather is here! I finally turned on the a/c the other day when I was typing some stuff for a lawyer. It was one of my little cash jobs, and I wanted to do the right thing with it. So I turned on the air, turned a fan on me, and typed away. I have been able to get away with only knitting in the early am or late evening. Or, of course, in someone else's air conditioning. The same with my spinning. Normally, I never think about fiber in the summer months at all. I usually sew or do tatting or needlework. But this summer, I have been staying with the fiber.
Tonight is Monday Night Knitting Group. So I guess I will take a shower, go to the library, and go on into town. See ya!

Happy Monday-Almost August-And It's HOT!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wow! It's Thursday Already!

It has been a sorta busy week. More job hunting on Monday, typing work for attorney Monday night, Tuesday night, and Wednesday morning finish up. Work LYS three days this week. But I am really excited about the mitred afghan. I got some more leftovers from some folks at Monday night knit group. Thanks-guys- for the support. Barbara even bought me a pretty sock yarn to add in. Thanks-I have good friends. But I decided to add on a 4" square with my homespun. What I found out was that the handspun is denser knitted with size 2 needles and heavier. But I like the texture and oddity of it. It makes it more home-madey! Like a quilt. I finished that yesterday and added two more of the lighter weight sock yarn 2" squares. I have been knitting on the sock at the LYS-more portable-and I am determined that I will finish sock#1 this week.

I enjoy the work at the LYS, and it is work, but I am seeing a whole different side of knitters than I expected. Some people need just a nudge to move past the difficult part, and some people need a boot to just get on with it. I enjoy the part of finding yarn bargains, and puzzle solving with someone over a project. EVERYONE has infinite patience with me while I struggle to find stuff on the computer as I am getting them a receipt.

Colleen did call me on Tuesday and tell me she is weaving. At that time she had learned twill and tweed. I mean this was only day 2 and she was still stressing out about mistakes! She was upset that people who already knew how to weave were in her class. She felt it should be true beginners. But I told her if I were going to the school, I would start with a beginner's class. I would want a class that was a little slower, and one that I could just practise my skills for a while. Then I would be ready to move on to the advanced classes. There are arguments on both sides of it, as usual.

Well, must go. Just a quick catch up for the week.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I Think I Have Gone Crazy!!

This week I have been helping at the LYS while Joy and Colleen are out of town. It has been apparent that I am unable to get a full-time job, so I am now doing what my grandmother used to call "piece work". A neighbor calls it "cash jobs". I know that according to the "real world", there is no age-ism or employment problems of any kind. The world is a wonderful place, and tonight I saw a house for $30 million on the news. It seems the regular housing market is down, but the upscale houses are rising. There was a townhouse for $35 million dollars in NYC that had terra cotta this and that, and the realtor lowered her voice to a lower, awe-inspiring voice said, "That is gold foil on the ceiling. It makes this room a real salon." Yeah-baby!

I have been adding a few more mitres onto the afghan. Joy and Colleen gave me some more left-overs before they left. I also have been doing more knitting at the shop during down times. I have dug out the socks, and I am almost finished with the #1 sock. But basically I am in a knitting slump. It just seems to be duty-knitting. I have been spinning in the very early hours while it is still cool. I am spinning just plain old white wool-nothing exotic-just plain old white wool. Sometimes I have to go back to the basic white wool. Of course, I can get a wild hair afterwards and dye it.

So-sorry nothing exciting to report. We did a fair business with the Harry Potter crowd wanting something to knit for the parties Friday night. One little girl wanted to knit a scarf, and she was dressed up really cute. I was thinking this is sorta like Halloween in July.

Our Monday night group was loud and louder on the 16th. It was a really big group! We were celebrating two birthdays, so there was extra wine. I was working in the shop when the Thursday morning group met. Two of the younger women in our Monday group were there. They were telling stories about things that happened and things that were said. One of the older women turned to her friend and said, "I think we're in the wrong group. Let's try to go Monday night." I tried not to smile or say anything. It was funny when LJ was telling them that she did not have to go to college, she had the knit group to teach her things. She calls all of us her "Mom Squad".

So until later gator. I have to go mow the grass.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What the.........?

Isn't there something wrong with selling a bottle of water for $55!?! I mean- are people really that stupid? Well, obviously, if they are actually starting a store called Bling H2O, I guess they think people are that stupid. But.... isn't there some common sense out there somewhere? I understand that I have a small filter on my tap, but it cost me less than $55 3 years ago. And I just have to change the filter out infrequently. And that is a minimum cost.

Anyway, I know I am speaking of my opinion here, but really- are people nuts?

I was knitting along last night on my green chevron scarf. Then I realized that I had made a mistake and knit a purl row. Sigh! It was a long way back, and I didn't want to unravel it. So I am now incorporating it into the design. I will balance it out, and it will appear that I intended to put those two garter marks on the scarf. How lazy is that? I am now at the stage when I just want to finish this thing. The love is gone.

Today I decided to juice three apples and start them fermenting. I want to make a sourdough starter for bread. I don't know why I want to do this in the heat of the summer. But right now there must be some incredible yeast in the air with all the rainfall we've had. I have to admit to everyone that there was some organic material that I decided to filter out. It was almost a mushy pulp, but foamy. So on the second messy attempt to filter this out, I tumped the bowl over into the sink. All my juice went down the drain! What a mess I made. I took all the mess left over out to Buddy for a treat, so some good came out of this.

Now--do I go to market tomorrow and get three more apples? Or do I start another yeast starter recipe called Herman? Herman is a sweeter starter, and I used to use it for cookies, pancakes, waffles, as well as bread. I really wanted to make the fermented apple starter. It takes longer than Herman. The juice has to ferment first, then you feed it. Herman starts with sugar, flour and water. The yeast gets in there, and makes an adequate sourdough. But I really want the apple starter. I don't mean to sound like I am some kind of expert, because I am not.

When my husband and I lived in an old Victorian house in downtown Little Rock, I would make bread every Sunday morning. The old fashioned way without a machine. It was his favorite day. Usually it meant coffee cake or cinnamon rolls for brunch. The dogs loved the fresh bread, and I had to guard it carefully as I removed it from the oven. Once I pulled a pan out of the oven, tipped the loaf onto a rack on the table, turned around to get another loaf out of the oven, and sure enough, the first loaf disappeared. As much as I wanted to be mad, I had serious thoughts about how Suzie's stomach felt with a whole loaf of HOT bread out of the oven. I mean, there was not a crumb anywhere.

This idyllic day ended on a weekend that I had been laboring hard for a craft show. I had spent many, many, many hours of finishing up projects- tying knots on the fringe, steaming, packaging, weighing, labeling, last minute things that had to get done by Friday. So I was looking forward to sleeping in late on Sunday. The show did not open until noon. I had to be there by 11am. At 6am, my husband was shaking me really, really worried, "Aren't you going to get up and make bread today?" I won't mention to you what I said to him as I jerked the covers up over my head and rolled over.

Wow! What a reminiscence! Is this a sign of old age? I am so sorry that I just blathered on. It was all because I have a bee up my butt that I want to make this sourdough. But then I tumped that out, so I will tump out of the computer and forget this drivel. I will figure it out somehow.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sigh! More Rain Today!

Well, you can only imagine what it is about having rain almost every day in July! But I am not going to complain too loudly since we are almost caught up on our yearly rainfall, and we are not in a drought. It is weird, though, to wake up to 60-ish degrees and to be a little bit chilly. And it is mid-July! Of course, if the sun comes out, it is awfully humid and sticky. And it is still warm in mid-day.
I wanted to show you my gourds, but the pictures were kinda- not real distinguishable. So I will show you a gourd flower that is really pretty with the ruffly edges. They are a little different from squash flowers, but basically develop from the bud the same. They share the same pests.
I am temporarily helping out at the yarn shop. Thanks to Joy, Colleen, and Cynthia for asking me. I need some cash right now, and this will help out. It is different being in the yarn shop as an employee rather than as a customer. I notice things I never noticed before.
Nothing else is really new. I have been working on the green scarf again. The mitered afghan is set aside for a little while. I finally finished the width, and now I am set to work on it. I just have to gather some more yarns, so socks-here I come!
Linda Jo- if you read this- I hope you are okay. You weren't at the Monday Night Knit Group, and I brought the aghan I told you about. I just sense something is not okay. Call me if you need to talk to someone.
-- For after all the best thing one can do when it is raining, is to let it rain. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, July 8, 2007

A Little Bit of Progress

I guess I have all the little squares now for row one. I wanted to finish these up so I can tell how wide I want it to be. I am now connecting them together to create the second row, but it is a little bit slower. I only have one repeat, and I guess I was too tired to notice until I had completed the second one. Oh, well. I figure there will be a lot of repeats before it is over with. Thanks to Jane and Joy for gifting me some of their left-overs. It is fun, but I am a little tired of pushing myself. I wanted to get to a certain point so I could plan ahead. So now I can do other things! Ha! It is so

easy to do that I just pick the needles up and away I go again. The most challenge is trying to get a new color combination out of the multi-color sock yarns.

I have not seen the foxes in a week. And few deer. I think the fireworks did them all in. Too much like hunting season. The wild turkey I told you about in an earlier post came to visit last week. So he is still alive. I smelled the bear yesterday. She was really stinky, but I guess she is supposed to be this time of year. There will be lots of berries to eat, but no nuts. There should be a good root supply with all the rain.

I tried twice to post some pictures of the cats playing in a paper sack. It is the old cave hiding thing and no one can see me. Noodles chirples and "talks". Baby just hides. They were really cute today. But for some reason I am not posting them today. It is the magic of blogland.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Blurry Photos-Yuck!

Well, I have started the afghan. The pictures are blurry, but you can see how it is going together. It is fun, fast, and EASY! Spent most of the day doing chores and trying to get housework done. But in my little bit of knitting time I worked up 4 or 5 of these squares quickly.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th!

May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country! ~Daniel Webster

Well, the 4th of July means good food to me. I don't particularly like fireworks-sounds like guns or something. It is probably one of those cellular memories that one never quite gets a handle on. But corn on the cob and watermelon! Yum, Yum, Yum!

I had never had roasted corn at a carnival until I moved to Kansas. Well, I was hooked. I love corn on the cob, just the old fashioned boiled- in-the-pot kind. I like to slather melted pretend- butter on it and sprinkle different seasoning mixes on it. But now I like roasted corn too. But I am not going out of my way to roast it. So boiled and eaten is okay with me.

I also picked two little poblano peppers out of my garden. While the corn was cooking, I split the peppers, emptied the seeds, filled them with that white cheese in the Mexican section of the grocery, and baked them. Oh, man, were they ever good! I do not like green peppers-the generic kind in the store. But chilis-oh, boy!

I burned the crap out of my hands once upon a time with habaneros. I even used gloves to de-seed them, and I was making garlic, pepper, and onion salsa. The cooked kind. Well, the oil ate through the rubber gloves, and I had HUGE! blisters on my hands. I cried while I ran cold water on it, and my husband made ice packs. The doctors weren't impressed, and they didn't want to eat any of my salsa either.

I am trying to keep from getting the summer knitting doldrums. I am sick to death of that sock. It is an albatross right now! The scarf is okay, since it is light weight. But I am HOT! I do not want to knit wool right now. Much less spin any right now. So I am trying to get going by looking in my files of Projects I Want to Do! Then I remembered I wanted to start a mitered afghan with left-over sock yarns. Perfect! I dug out the stash of left-overs, and started a mitered square. Perfect! It only takes a little while and I have a 2" square. Perfect, Perfect, Perfect! I will show pictures when I get along on it. It is an ongoing project since I am only using left-overs. So it is a project to just knit a little square, attach it to the others, and just keep on building as I want to. Maybe, Maybe, Maybe!

On the animal front, I have to admit that I am waiting for the baby foxes to appear again so I can get more photos for y'all. I also saw a road runner cock fight for the first time ever! They run at each other like road runners run-head forward and level with the back. They jump and hit their chests together and kick with their feet. I have asked other people about it, and no one else has ever seen this behavior before either. I opened the back door facing the woods this morning, and three does were grazing. They looked up, and continued working down the treeline, grazing and switching their tails and ears. No one is too concerned about me. I guess I am just part of the wildlife here, and no one is too concerned. I just live in a funny den.

I haven't pulled all my potatoes out of the ground yet. But the only things I have left are peppers and gourds. My gourds are ecstatic with the rain we've had. But I cussed them out the other day about making fruit. Now I have two gourds making, and I think I spotted another one today. I only have three onions left of my little onion patch. I need to pull some of the garlic, but haven't done that. It is getting to be the lazy summer days. I usually do everything at the early and late time of the day. The heat of the day is not so wonderful. It is a time to rest.

John Lubbock--Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Make New Friends, But Keep The Old!

I have been absent for some time. Well, that's a lead-in someone may not want known around town. It could start rumors. Well, I have been absent from Blogland for a while-how's that?

I have been unraveling a sweater found in a thrift shop. It really makes me wonder about who the knitter was, where did the knitter buy the yarn (it's the older woolen yarn that we used to buy 25 + years ago). It almost makes me think Shetland. I find unraveling someone else's work is very instructional. I know how to unravel my own knitting. But when I am pulling out the work of someone else, I find the little teensy flaws, the clever ways of hiding tails, the way that someone sewed up edges.

I also ponder on the many sweaters I have received from grandmothers. I liked some of them; I hated some of them. I was never asked when I was younger what color would I like, or do I want wool or wool? As I got older, I would purchase yarn and give them to the grandmothers. I found I could have some control over the outcome by purchasing yarn I liked.

But this sweater also makes me realize how others choose patterns, yarns, colors, etc. Usually the ideas I present are not what someone else wants. When I help someone choose a yarn, I first start with colors I like. But immediately I either get a maybe, or even a no. It is at this time I let someone start choosing something that he/she likes. This gives me an idea of what colors they like. It is best to step back, and just get as much information as you can as to what colors, what textures, what-ever that someone else likes. This is difficult, but it usually makes a happier knitter.

I think that way about sewing. I love what others do, but am not always happy with my own choices. I am a new quilt piecer. I have a good color sense from painting and from fiber arts. But if the thing is not working, I am not working. This quilt I am working on is difficult. It is not piecing right. I am trying to do my darnest to make it work. But I think I am about to throw in the towel and just start sewing it together my own way and just finish the damn thing. I am not a perfectionist, but I do want the thing to look right. Anyway, at this rate, I will have one quilt a year completed. How do people do multiple quilts?

The fox kits are PRECIOUS! I know, I know, they are pesty critters that are not good to have around. I don't have chickens, so I am enjoying the show. They tumble and wrestle and growl and nip and they have the best times playing. Mama looks a little frazzled. I looked out yesterday, and one of the kits was eating berries right at it's face level. Another one was eating daisies and snapping at grass blades.

The butterfly I mentioned some time back is a Great Spangled Frittilaria (spelling?).

Chiggers are bad. If you do not live in a part of the US with chiggers, lucky you! I only itch for 2-3 days, then they fade away slowly. But there is still a bump there until it slowly goes away.

I never thought I would be the one to say I live in a rain forest, but it sure feels like it. We have had a massive amount of rain. I am convinced that if you live in a forested area, as I do, then the rain in heavier. Tonight there is fog everywhere. Today I could see the moisture in the air as I drove into town. The frogs are ecstatic!

The Monday Night Knit Group was huge tonight. Linda Jo and Cynthia were back. Yeah! It becomes almost impossible to talk to anyone but the person next to you. It is just so good to see such a large group. What I am finding is what is old is now new. I am happy to see new knitters discovering "new" things to them. The LYS is planning the Fall things already, and Colleen and Joy are busy rearranging the shop and trying to get new and old things in better display. Sasha is enjoying the whole show. She is such a good shop cat.

I think that is all the news. I am still knitting on the same old stuff. They are both winter wear, so I am in no big hurry. I am still trying to find a job. I am still working on the damn quilt. So nothing new to report on any of that stuff.

"Wherever you wander, wherever you roam, be happy, live healthy, and be glad to come home." -- Karen M.