Friday, May 30, 2008

Global Warming-Oh! It's Too Hot For Socks!

These are the plain-Jane grey wool socks knit with Kroy sock yarn. Kroy is a little bit rough, but they wear like iron. I like the weight of the yarn, and I like to knit plain-Jane socks because they are fast knitting. That's my sick Noodles getting a rub from Mama.

I heard on the news last night that Dow Chemical is raising its prices really a lot! I don't know what that means, other than now the manufacturers are being affected. It is no longer just the transportation of goods that raises the prices. Dow's products are petroleum-based, and that includes make-up, disposable diapers, household cleaners, etc. I am glad I don't wear make-up and that I don't clean that often. I don't need diapers yet, but maybe in a few years! But seriously-is this the beginning of the way things are going?

Which brings up the question of........Will the price of yarn go up, too? I need to run this by the Hand Held ladies and see what they know. I haven't seen any discussion of this on anyone's blog. I think that we need to stock up on sock yarn, just in case. I am certainly glad I spin and that I have a fiber stash. I have been stockpiling handspun yarn for a while, waiting until the right sweater comes along. I am glad I have that stash of yarn available--just in case.

I am knitting another pair of socks, but you will not get a picture of it on my feet this summer. I always have a pair of socks going, but it is WAY TOO HOT TO WEAR SOCKS!

I will leave you with this reminder that it is time to wash and put away all your woollies for the summer. These were only the dirty ones, but they smell so sweet now. I love the smell of clean, woolly socks that have been outside. I especially like the odor of my handspun socks (the pink ones on the left). I know-I'm weird!
But they smell differently than the others.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gosh! It's Summer Already!

Well, as predicted, summer is here. We have been cooler than normal, rain every day, and little fronts moving through from the north. Then WHAM! it's 90 degrees, muggy, and maybe a 20% chance of rain somewhere within 100 miles or so. We are settling into our summer heat pattern with all the humidity and no rain. Usually it is so dry by August I don't have to mow very much.

Noodles is much better, and it is a struggle to get his twice-a-day meds down. But I have noticed that he has a neurological component to this virus that has not improved 100%. I am still keeping an eye on him, and he still wants to sit in my lap. He doesn't normally sit in my lap. Baby is still being a butt-hole and hisses at him if they are within spitting distance of each other. She normally just keeps herself in a different territory from him, and she sleeps with me at night. I-being the primary primate in this household-have the unpleasant duty to check for ticks daily. Lately it has been twice daily. They are super, super bad this year!

Nothing else to report. I did a small batch of wool yesterday in the crockpot. I used grape and strawberry, and it is maroon color. I purposefully mixed the colors together beforehand, and drizzled the dye over the wool as I put it in the pot. So there are distinctly lighter colored places. I will see how it cards up.

Am I the only person in the world who has to count out loud when knitting a lace row? I have read many blogs, but I don't recall anyone admitting this. Yesterday I had to put the lace down. I did okay on the lace row, but somehow when doing the knit row back, there were three stitches short. I carefully unknit that row, recounted a gazillion times, and still short. I found where some of the yarnovers stuck to the other stitches, but I was still short one. So I cheated and made a stitch. I hate to even admit that, but I was SUPER frustrated at this point. So I did the next lace row, and it came out perfectly. So I put it down for a while. I find I have to talk out loud to make sure I stay on pattern. And I get distracted somewhere in the middle and have to force myself to count and watch the pattern. That's my confession for the day.

I have a teeny plan in the back of my head for that shrug that I was knitting with Manos that wouldn't fit a fifth grader. I found something in a magazine that I think will salvage the piece without frogging all the mess it has become. I haven't knit a single square on the modular piece for about two weeks. With the coming of heat, I get disenchanted with knitting. That's another reason to get this alpaca shawl thing done quickly.

So that's the news from the home front. It is so pretty now with all the greens out there. I love the colors of early summer before the drought. I have these little wild flowers growing called Heal All. I love them. The iris are just about done. The spiderwort is about done. The day lillies are shooting up giant flower stalks. The blackberries are making lots of berries. It's summer!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Big Six Oh!

This is a lovely little water iris I found in someone's trash can! I can't believe people just throw out flowers. When I asked if I could have them, the lady said she didn't like them at all. So I planted them in two different places because I didn't know what they were. At that time they were just rhizomes and dead foliage. Now I need a bog or fen to plant them in. HMMM!

Noodles was alert this morning when I went to greet him. He actually came over to the couch and snuggled a little bit. I guess in gratitude for my caring so much. He wanted outside, and I opened the door. I watched him go to various points in the yard smelling the scents and gathering information. Then he saw Baby stalking something across the yard. He was very alert and was able to catch a chipmunk before she could. So I guess fresh meat is better when you are getting well than that yucky chicken I pureed for him last night.

I took advantage to wash the cover on the chair he has been sleeping in for several days. I decided to vacuum, and then I thought I might as well straighten up my nest around the chair. That's when I found the headless mouse corpse. Which also explains why the sticky trap was stuck to the side of the chair. So I guess he was hunting last night also. Although he was still sleeping in the same chair, looking peaked and pitiful, and wanting my attention, he was still well enough to kill a mouse-y.

I am still on the twice-a-day medication routine with Noodles, so any plans I had are not going to happen. But I am okay with that. I would rather take care of him and make sure he is okay.

I was born in a thunderstorm. So this morning I thought it only appropriate that we had a mild little thunderstorm. Baby was upset with the storm, but then she was very upset with my cleaning things up, too. I love the feel of the energy of the storm, and I always feel a tingle when I hear the rumbles. Now the sun is out and it will be very humid the rest of the day.

A neighbor came over yesterday with a professional weedeater machine. It looks like a rototiller with a shield in front. There is a head under that with huge weedeater lines. I mean huge-thick and tough. He cleaned out the part of the hillside I never ever mow because of the rocks. It had grown into a mess with greenbriars and blackberry brambles. He cleaned that out in no time. So now that looks nice. He also gave me some lettuce and green onions from his garden. The neighbors are nice around here.

So that's the update here at our kitty hospice. We are so all doing better, except that Baby hisses at him and scratches at him if she even sees his face nearby. I guess he smells funny, and he did get her chipmunk this morning. Kids!

Happy Memorial Day holiday to everyone. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thank God for Visa!

My poor little kitty boy, Noodles, has some kind of illness. He was listless Tuesday, but no more than normal when his tummy is full of rodents and when there is heat. Or at least I didn't take too much notice. Until later Tuesday evening when I realized that something was not right. Yesterday I watched him carefully, trying to decipher if this was a passing illness or a serious illness.

Today I bit the bullet, called the vet, made an appointment, and carried him up there to be prodded and examined by strangers. He had a very high temperature, and was very hot! He was dehydrated, and I was having a hard time getting him to drink. So the vet determined he has a viral infection caused by ticks-those nasty vermin!- and gave him some fluids, two shots, and me some medication to give him twice a day for two weeks. Thank God for Visa!

So since then he has moved to two different spots, and once he lay in my lap for a while. I can tell his temperature is down, but he is still hot! But I have seen him drink water twice, so that is good.

I was supposed to go to Mirkwood this weekend, but that's out now. I will not leave my sick kitty. And then my friend from California is visiting her property in Oklahoma, and she called me with an invitation for this weekend. But I will not leave my sick kitty.

So I guess I will stay home, knit, eat, maybe mow my yard, and just have fun here.

I received a pattern in the mail that I had ordered for a "shoulderette". It is a small shawl that is short with Faeroese shaping on the shoulders. I am knitting it out of my handspun alpaca. It is BOO-TI-FUL! It is working fast.

TR finished my gussets for me on sock 2 at Monday night knit group. She did not remember to bring her knitting, and I dug out the socks for her to work on. She was gracious enough to tackle it and got it done. I am almost to the toe now. These socks are going to be hot, but nice come winter.

I decided I hated my colorway on the squares for the sweater. So Colleen and Joy and I had a conference and we picked out another colorway to add to the one I have to jazz it up some. It is a lot better. I did one of the squares Monday night to see if I liked it, and I did. Tuesday morning I put the squares outside to get natural light, and I think it's going to work out fine. I just am not too jazzed about it yet.

I am going to give Noodles his night medicine, and then I am going to curl up with my Joan Hess mystery I am reading. Maggie Sefton is coming out with a new one, and my local librarian is ordering it. She told me about it Tuesday at the library knit session.

I will try to catch up with more news and pictures next posting.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Let's Catch Up!

Last Saturday, the 10th, HandHeld Knitting sponsored a Knit Out at the Farmer's Market. It was in April last year, and we nearly froze to death. This year we were hoping for better weather. So we kept watching for the rain to come, and we chatted, and we knitted, and we had a lot of fun.

The last photo is one of JF's students. She is making a hat. She is a 2nd grader! Go girl!

This past Tuesday I went to our local library to the knitting group that JF started there. I took my spinning wheel and demonstrated spinning. We had a great discussion of where wool comes from, how to dye, how to shear, how to comb the wool, and then I told them that the spinning group is doing a sheep to shawl today. I brought a container full of different types of handspun yarn, and the touchy feely part was a hit. These are very bright children, and they were inquisitive and eager to learn more.

By Thursday I developed some kind of virus-abdominal kind. Everyone else has the nasal, upper respiratory kind. I had to be different. Yesterday I felt much better, and I went to the grocery store and library. Today I am down and out again. I woke up with that gurgling and grumbling that can be heard prior to the event. So I am missing the sheep to shawl. Oh, well!

Speaking of different, I read the BEST children's book, Woolbur. It is very short, easy to read, and fun! It is about a little sheep that does not conform to sheep behavior. This concerns his parents a lot. He refuses to cut his hair, he jumps in the dyepot to experiment with colors, he finds the spinning wheel a fun toy, and he weaves his forelocks in the warp! Gasp! What are parents supposed to do with an unruly child? It reminds me of a Farside cartoon of a flock of sheep in the meadow. One in the middle is standing up with hoof raised, shouting, "Wait, Wait, We don't have to be just sheep!" The expressions of the others show they think he is an idiot. This is a cute book. And a good lesson for parents and children.

I am knitting the heel on sock two. I haven't been pushing to finish this since it is almost summer. These are heavier weight socks, and they won't be worn until next season. I am working on mitre blankie, and I started a new project. I found a pattern by Valentina Devine that are mitred squares. The squares consist of a small square, two L-shaped pieces, and a rectangle. It is easy to do, and portable. A good summer-time project. I am using Noro Kureyon in a colorway of grays, soft lilac, soft green, darker green, and turquoise. I wanted a neutral colorway that would be timeless. Everyone in the knit shop laughed at me because I said I wanted to wear this sweater in 20 years without it dating back 20 years. TR said the design was good because the sleeves would not catch in the wheelchair as I pushed it along. Then we decided if I am still mobile, I should knit a pouch to put on my walker. It was a good laugh for everyone.

I have been on a knitting jag suddenly, and I am reading a lot. I have been trying to rest my hands a little more than usual. They still ache. It helps if I do a very hot dishwashing and that seems to take away some of the ache.

Nothing else to report. We finally got a break in the rain and storms. I mowed the yard yesterday when I returned from town. It is somewhat like what my grandmother would call "a lick and a promise." I just wanted the worst parts mowed and I did not trim anything. The ground is still a little soggy.

So that's the catch up. Nothing exciting to report. I have been trying to use Ravelry more, but I haven't found my knitch there yet. I have joined a coupla of groups, and I did read some of the forum stuff from them. Hopefully this will just "click" one day.

Keep on knitting, spinning, dyeing, and having fun! Later.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My First Harmony Needles!!!

I am so excited! My friend CP gave me some Harmony dpns last night at the knit group. She is so generous. I was ecstatic. I just happened to have some handspun yarn in my knit bag, and I wound it into a ball. JF wants to buy any extra yarn in the colorway I was winding. So I didn't start the new pair of socks. I just feel like I should knit a pair of handspun socks on the new needles first as an initiation and to let the needles know I appreciate them.

Anyway I found out there was absolutely nothing on t.v. last night, so I sat in my comfy chair and cast on the new socks. But then I got kinda worried about how much fleece I have left to spin up. So this morning I weighed it out. I actually have much less than I thought I had. So I will not continue on with the socks until I talk to JF this afternoon at the knitting group in our little town library.

My last post I mentioned the upcoming storm. Well-there were 7 deaths from the tornadoes that skipped across the state. Hopefully we will be ending our Spring storms soon. We are way over our usual rainfall, which is nice to have before the summer drought. As usual, we are in a cool period during early May. Then when this breaks it will be HOT! And HUMID!

A neighbor brought some salad greens and green onions. I took some of the onions to Colleen and Joy last night. He also asked if I wanted an office chair. I said sure, and he brought it to me this morning on his way to work. Evidently during an office move, the company just threw all this office furniture in the dumpster. He salvaged some chairs and a few other items. He could not get the solid wood bookcases out of the dumpster. When he returned with help, someone else was there filling up a big van. So it was being saved.

The chair has a wide seat, which is nice for my wide seat. I think it will become my new spinning chair. I thought it would be nice for a sewing chair, but I spin more than I sew. I scrubbed it down really well with Extra Power cleaner and carpet cleaner. I don't want anyone else's cooties. It looks so much better than it did. I'm not sure what I will do with the present spinning bench, but I think the chair will work okay for this purpose.

I have been knitting so much lately that my hands hurt. And there is another storm on the way.
I have been trying to not knit so much, and to rest my hands. But they are used so much all the time for all kinds of things-like typing on my blog-and it is hard to just rest them. So-talk to later.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Day!

Yesterday was a blustery, bright, sunny day. The wind is blowing in from the south, bringing lots of moisture. It is setting us up for a storm tonight. A cold front is coming from the northwest, and when it hits the moisture and heat from the south-BAM! It is the way our weather works every Spring.

So with the right atmosphere to wash, I put my latest quilt outside to blow in the wind. I looked at my archives and did not find any pictures of it. So here they are. The first one is the "right" side. The materials are Moda- I think Canoe Country. Lots of cabins, lake, canoes, moose, etc. This was not the pattern I started with. I made four blocks according to pattern. I could not get them square. I became very frustrated. I stopped sewing for a while. When I went back to it, I just made up my own pattern.
The "back" of the quilt is the four blocks I started with sewn into a large block. I just filled in with cream material to make the back big enough.
Then I wanted to show you a close up of the quilting part. I told the quilter I wanted circles to break up the geometric linear thing. And this is what she did. Isn't it pretty? She used a muti-colored nylon thread that blended with all the colors in the quilt. I was tickled to see how she did that.

I did a binding that matched the tiny print that was the main fabric. It is much smaller than originally planned, but I am really happy with it.

So we start May with laundry pictures, but I promise I won't always do that. I am knitting on the forgotten UFO and the mitre blankie. I haven't even cast on for the 2nd sock yet. I am still cleaning out drawers and throwing stuff out.

So no major news. It is warm, it is WINDY, and everything is GREEN! I noticed that when I was driving home the other day. Suddenly-like just overnight-everything is GREEN!

Keep on knitting, keep on sewing, keep on spinning.